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New Look Holiday statement: We've never used the PIP or Rofil implants and none of our clients have received them.
Cosmetic surgery and the PIP implants
The PIP breast implant controversy continues to grab the headlines across Europe. Concerns have been raised by women who have had their breast implants as “cosmetic surgery tourists”. What do they do if they have received a PIP (or a Rofil M) implant in a cosmetic surgery clinic in another country? Research by Treatment Abroad shows that UK patients may be less at risk than if they had gone for breast augmentation in the UK.
It is estimated that 40,000 women in the UK have received implants manufactured by the French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP). PIP implants contain low grade silicone; there are concerns about the risk of rupture of PIP implants and the effect that this silicone will have on the patient.
Reaction has varied across Europe. The French government has offered to pay for implants to be removed. The Czech, Dutch and German health authorities say that the implants should be removed. The UK government has said that there is no evidence that routine removal of PIP implants is necessary. However the NHS has agreed to remove PIP implants for free if the original operation was undertaken by the NHS (usually as part of a breast reconstruction after surgery for breast cancer). It has also said that women who are concerned about their breast implants should be able to have them removed for free by their private cosmetic surgery clinic.
The use of PIP implants in cosmetic clinics abroad
UK clinics and cosmetic surgeons pointed at the failure of the UK government to monitor and regulate the supply of implants. But some also raised concerns about patients who may have travelled abroad for their implants. According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, “Many UK women would have had them implanted when they travelled abroad to countries such as Belgium, Poland and the Czech Republic for cut-price operations.”
The response from the clinics was a resounding...”No, we have never used low-cost implants”. We haven’t been able to identify any of our clients who have used PIP or Rofil implants.
What does this say about the quality of cosmetic surgery clinics abroad?
Domestic cosmetic surgery providers, such as the plastic surgeon associations in the UK or the USA, often criticise surgeons and clinics abroad who offer cosmetic surgery at a lower cost. The issue of “what happens if something goes wrong?” is frequently raised. Cosmetic surgery abroad is presented as low cost, low quality and high risk.
But the PIP implant story presents a different view from that which is usually presented in the media. The cosmetic surgery clinics abroad were very clear that they use the highest quality (and higher priced implants) and that they avoid cheap implants. What people tend to forget is that surgeons, clinics and hospitals that target the international patient market are usually the best in their field. Thus, the Harley Street doctors and London hospitals who attract patients from across the world have built a worldwide reputation based on expertise, not on low cost. Similarly, in outer European markets such as Belgium and Spain, it is the leading cosmetic surgeons who have sought to spread their wings by developing an international patient business. The cosmetic surgeons treating UK women are often the best in their own country.
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