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How Faulty PIP Breast Implants Differ From American Implants

By now, you’ve probably heard about the heated debate surrounding a certain type of French breast implants. Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) were taken off the market in March 2010 after research showed that they were more likely to leak and rupture than other implants, and that they were using poor quality silicone. While plastic surgeons can no longer operate with them, there are still some 30,000 women around the world who are carrying them. The debate now centers on the 2,400 women with PIP implants who have suggested that their breast implants be removed—for free.

What Was Wrong With PIP Implants?

PIP implants were once the third most popular type of breast implants in the world. Launched in 1991, plastic surgeons and patients alike favored PIP implants for their reasonable price tag and natural look and feel. But in March 2010, the government barred PIP’s implants after an official investigation discovered that they weren’t using medical grade silicone. Instead, they were using a cheaper silicone fit for industrial use only. Soon after they were discontinued, a study showed that 20 women with PIP implants had since developed breast cancer. One woman even died from the cancer in 2010. Though one study has disproved the link between PIP implants and cancer, plenty of women (2,400 of them) believe that their PIP implants are enough of a risk to warrant their complimentary removal. Some of their lawyers have attacked the national health department, claiming that the government is responsible for protecting these women. Others have headed straight for PIP, demanding that the bankrupt company cover all costs of the removal surgery.

The Difference Between American Implants and PIP Implants

In response to the controversy to the PIP implants, many American women have grown worried over the safety of their own breast implants. The risk of leaks and ruptures has always been present, but the news of PIP has given a new reality to such concerns. And what about breast cancer—can implants really raise the risk?

The vast majority of women with implants will never have to worry about their implants causing or increasing their risk of breast cancer. But the FDA has issued a statement declaring that there may be a link between breast implants and the rare cancer anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Since 1989, only 34 women have developed ALCL. That’s out of the estimated five to ten million women with breast implants worldwide. ALCL develops on the scar tissue that develops around damaged encapsulated implants, making it a type of cancer that is restricted to women with breast implants only.

Implants used and manufactured in the United States undergo safety rigorous testing to make sure that they’re up to par. Allergan and Mentor are the most popular brands, and most plastic surgeons will usually choose the brand. Allergan is well known throughout the cosmetic community and is also the manufacturer of the most popular injectable in the world, BOTOX® Cosmetic. Mentor has been producing implants for over 20 years, and is particularly dedicated to making sure their silicone implants are safe.

With that being said, all patients who’ve had breast augmentation should get regular checkups by doctors and plastic surgeons to ensure that their implants are in good health. A damaged implant of any brand can be detrimental to your health. Patients that are concerned about the safety of implants should also be looking beyond the brand of the implant. A skilled plastic surgeon that’s been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery will not only perform the procedure safely, but also be capable of choosing an implant type that’s low risk.

Scheduling Your Breast Augmentation Surgery Consultation

If you’d like to learn more about types of breast implants or breast augmentation surgery, contact our representatives today. We’ll book you an appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area. During the consultation, you’ll be able to discuss your concerns, learn the details of the procedure, and even find out what your end results will be. Contact us today!



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