December 21, 2011
French Women May Be Ordered To Have Faulty Breast Implants Removed
French government officials are expected to order tens of thousands of women to have defective breast implants made from industrial silicone removed because of health concerns, various media outlets reported on Tuesday.
According to Guardian reporter Angelique Chrisafis, the implants, which were manufactured by a company called Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), were made from a cheaper, non-medical silicone usually used for electronics and computer parts.
Furthermore, the implants were said to have a higher chance of bursting than their conventional counterparts, and now reports have surfaced that eight women who received the implants have contracted cancer -- including one case involving a rare form that affects cells of the immune system, the Guardian reporter added.
Approximately 30,000 French women and 40,000 British women received the "potentially faulty implants" that were created from industrial silicone, Chrisafis said. A reported 2,000 women have filed police complains and a criminal investigation has begun into PIP, which was shut down last year after officials first learned of their use of industrial silicone, AFP's Olivier Thibault said.
"Today, we're in the process of evaluating these breast implants because of the apparent cancer risk," government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse said, according to Thibault. "The government will announce its action plan between now and the end of the week."
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, several media outlets, including the French paper Liberation, reported that the decision had already been made official and that the government would ask patients who had received the implants to have them removed.
"We have to remove all these implants," Dr. Laurent Lantieri, a plastic surgeon on a special committee investigating the issue, told Liberation, according to BBC News reports. "We're facing a health crisis, linked to a fraud."
Precresse added that all women who received the implants "should return to see their surgeons urgently" because they could potentially be in danger, but the BBC says that an official with the health ministry told them that there was no immediate health risk.
"In France, where at least 20% of the women with PIP implants received them during reconstruction surgery after breast cancer, some 523 women have already had their implants removed," Chrisafis said, adding that the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had argued that there was "insufficient evidence" to claim a link between the implants and the reported cases of cancer.
Before Tuesday, women who had gotten the implants were only advised to see their doctors in order to ensure that they remained intact, or to have them removed if they had ruptured, Ryan Jaslow of CBS News reported.
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