Published: 4:29PM Tuesday June 19, 2012 Source: AAP
Health authorities agree Australian women with PIP breast implants can rest assured the recalled French products are not toxic or cancerous, following the results of a British report.
Britain’s National Health Service medical director Bruce Keogh yesterday found that the Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) devices were more likely to rupture than other brands, but do not pose long-term health risks.
He said repeated tests in several countries showed the implants were not toxic.
A spokeswoman for the Australian government’s Department of Health and Ageing said the British report found that although PIP implants were poorly manufactured and twice as likely to rupture than other brands, they are not toxic and do not cause cancer.
“This is good news for women with PIP implants who may have been unduly alarmed by sensational media reporting in Australia about these implants being `toxic time bombs’,” the spokeswoman said in a statement to AAP.
“The main point from both the UK and Australian reports is that there is no evidence of increased risk of breast cancer or connective tissue diseases with these devices.”
The UK report studied 240,000 implants of differing brands given to 130,000 women in England and looked at data from other countries including France and Australia.
Dr Daniel Fleming from the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery said the results would be a relief to Australian women with the implants.
“They’re not toxic and people don’t have to worry about their health,” he told AAP.
“It’s disappointing they rupture a bit more frequently but that’s not a reason to take them out for everybody that hasn’t got a rupture.
“It’s just a reason to keep an eye on them a bit more closely than we would with normal implants.”
PIP implants, which were made with sub-standard gel, were used in Australia between September 1999 and April 2010 before they were recalled following advice from the French regulator.
Between 300,000 and 400,000 women in 65 countries are believed to have the breast implants.
Medicare rebates are available for MRI scans and surgery to remove and replace ruptured PIP breast implants or if doctors believe the patient is suffering significant anxiety.
All breast implants are a high risk medical device with a limited life span, the department of health and ageing spokeswoman said.
Dr Fleming said the rupture rate of any breast implant brand was about 13% by eight years.