Procedure

Pip Implants Replacement- Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery

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Breast augmentation is one of the most popular plastic surgeries done around the world.

Breast implants are generally regarded as safe devices and only cause minimal complications. All breast implants are made of medical-grade silicone. This is a silicone material that has been tested for safety and approved for use in human prosthetics.

Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) was a popular breast implant manufacturer in the ’90s and ‘00. After thousands of women had received their implants, it was discovered that they were fraudulent. They were made of unapproved silicone. This has lead to a massive prosecution of the company, which lead to its liquidation in 2010.

If you’ve received your breast implants before 2010, you might be asking yourself: how do i know if I have PIP implants? Are PIP implants dangerous? Should they be removed? Do they cause cancer? Do they rupture more often?

This article has all the answers you might have.

What is the PIP Implant Scandal

Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) was a French company established in 1991 and is specialized in producing silicone breast implants.

It was founded by Jean-Claude Mas, a French businessman who was one of the first to introduce breast implants to the French market.

The company produced around 4 million breast implants in the years it was active (1991-2010). Its products were available all around the globe and were implanted in hundreds of thousands of women.

As of the early ‘00s, surgeons and patients started noticing that PIP implants had a significantly higher rate of rupture. Further investigations lead to discovering that the company was using cheaper non-medical grade silicone to produce its implants.

This industrial silicone had not been tested or approved for human use. This scandal has lead to the liquidation of the company, and a global recall of all unimplanted products.

Are PIP Implants dangerous?

So far, the only problem with PIP implants is that they are 2 to 6 times more likely to rupture than all other silicone breast implants.

When a breast implant ruptures, the fluid or gel inside leaks to the breast tissue. This can lead to:

  • Breast deformity
  • Breast asymmetry
  • Breast pain
  • Breast swelling
  • Armpit swelling or pain
  • Nipple retraction

Most of these problems are purely cosmetic and are not a great cause of concern. There’s still no evidence to tie PIP implants to a higher risk of cancer or more serious complications

Should PIP implants be removed?

So far, there’s no absolute recommendation to have your PIP implants removed if they’re not causing any symptoms.

This means that if you have PIP implants and are satisfied with them, there’s currently no evidence to support having them removed.

The only two reasons to get your PIP implants removed are if:

  • Your implants have ruptured and you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms
  • You are worried about possible future complications

It is noteworthy that PIP implants have been banned from the market and all the unused implants had been withdrawn.

How do I know if I have PIP implants?

If you’ve had your breast augmentation between 1994 and 2009, there’s a chance that you might have received PIP silicone implants.

There are several ways how you might be able to know what kind of implants you have:

  • Some breast implants come with an identification card
  • You can ask your plastic surgeon
  • You can look at your receipts
  • You can look at your insurance letter
  • You can know after you have your implants removed for any reason

Can I have my PIP implants removed for free?

This depends on where you live and why you got your implants originally. Was it for breast reconstruction for a valid medical cause? Or was it purely cosmetic surgery?

In general, if you’ve received your implants as part of a covered breast reconstruction surgery, then you might be eligible to receive breast implant replacement surgery in some countries.

Those who got PIP implants for purely cosmetic reasons usually have to pay for any replacement implants or removal surgery.

What to do if I have PIP breast implants?

So far, there's no evidence to suggest that they are a threat to your health.

We do suggest, however, that you visit your plastic surgeon for some follow-up tests. Your surgeon van order an MRI to assess the integrity of your implants.

If your implants have ruptured, they should be removed to avoid breast deformity in the future. New and better implants can be used this time.

Sources:

  • https://www.imarcresearch.com/blog/pip-breast-implant-scandal
  • https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pip-implants/
  • https://www.tga.gov.au/alert/pip-breast-implants-updated-australian-perspective
  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/5zhk38ggwCgDn6cPdlfylb9/pip-breast-implants
About the Author:
Dr. Mersad is a medical doctor, author, and editor based in Germany. He's managed to publish several research papers early in his career. He is passionate about spreading medical knowledge. Thus, he spends a big portion of his time writing educational articles for everyone to learn.
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