The NHS launched its Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry last month, and the only negative thing to say about that is that it’s been a long time coming.
The purpose of the new scheme is simple enough: from now on, it will collect and record the details of any individual who has had breast implant surgery, so that if a product used in their surgery has been recalled due to safety fears they can be traced, notified, and advised.
Not only that, it will also act as an organic and constantly-updated survey of trends in the implant world and any complications that stem from new advances.
Finally, something good from the PIP scandal
This long-awaited development stems directly from the PIP scandal earlier this decade, when the French company Poly Implant Prothèsewere found to be creating implants made from industrial grade silicone instead of the industry-approved medical grade material that has passed safety tests.
The poorer-quality implants were banned across the world in 2010, and a 2012 report from the UK discovered that they had double the rupture rate of other implants.
The repercussions of this included the owner of the company being imprisoned for four years, and the German firm responsible for granting European safety certificates for the implants being forced to pay compensation to hundreds of French women.
It’s been estimated that approximately 47,000 women in the UK had the implants, but the jury is still out on how unsafe they actually are. The French, German and Czech authorities advise they be replaced: the UK decided they weren’t a risk to health.
Whether they are or aren’t, it’s indisputable that a lot of implant clients have been forced to undergo a lot of stress and anxiety – especially when they don’t know if they’ve had PIP implants or not (there’s a full breakdown of the PIP situation on the BBC website).
What happens now?
The first thing you need to know is that the Registry will not be back-dated: as of now, all providers of breast implant surgery will be expected to participate, and all new clients – to both private clinics and the NHS – will be invited to sign a consent form before a procedure, giving their permission to have their details logged on the Registry.
You will be entirely within your rights to refuse, but you are strongly advised to do this: if your implant is later discovered to be of insufficient standard, you will be much easier to find and be notified about it. And if the clinic you’re thinking of approaching is not participating in this, you are just as strongly advised not to put your business there.
At the moment, this scheme is restricted to breast surgery, but will soon be expanding to procedures in other areas, such as calf and buttock implant surgery.
With cosmetic enhancement becoming more commonplace and less of a luxury item, it’s vital that the industry is regulated to filter out poor practice and substandard items: here at Surgical Aesthetics, we welcome any moves to keep our industry as safe and trustworthy as possible