What good came of the PIP breast implant scandal?

It’s now been three years since Sir Bruce Keogh published his report into the cosmetic surgery industry – what has been its effect on the cosmetic surgery and the thousands of people who undergo procedures each year?

You may remember, Sir Bruce, NHS National Medical Director for England, was asked to review the cosmetic surgery industry in the wake of the PIP implant scandal.

PIP breast implants were withdrawn from the UK in 2010 when it was found that a French manufacturer had used industrial-grade, rather than medical-grade, silicone and that they were more prone to rupture.  Some 47,000 British women had had PIP breast implants fitted (PIP breast implants have never been used at our cosmetic surgery practice).

Sir Bruce’s independent review recommended:

  • Making all dermal fillers prescription only.
  • Ensuring all practitioners are properly qualified for all the procedures they offer, from cosmetic surgeons offering breast enlargement to people offering ‘injectables’, such as dermal fillers or Botox.
  • An ombudsman to oversee all private health care including cosmetic procedures to help those who have been treated poorly.

In addition, it was recommended that:

  • Surgical providers should provide a record of implants and operations to both the person undergoing a procedure and their GP.
  • A registry should be established for breast implants and other devices to alert the authorities to any signs of concerns at an early stage, providing critical intelligence in the event of product failure or recall.
  • People who offer cosmetic procedures need to ensure that patients are aware of the implications and risks of procedure and that they have adequate time to consider this information before agreeing to surgery.
  • An advertising code of conduct and insurance products.

While the PIP implant scandal should never have happened in the first place, there are some constructive outcomes.  Many of the recommendations made by Sir Bruce are in the process of being implemented – perhaps the surest sign that a positive will come out of a negative situation.

However, as well as the cosmetic surgery industry improving overall standards, another critical benefit to come out of the scandal is improved patient awareness.  Other members of BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) report that patients are now more questioning of products and techniques, wanting to find out more detail than ever before in advance of surgery.

This heightened awareness is extremely welcome – it ensures that people are able to make well informed decisions and feel greater confidence in their procedure and whoever is carrying it out.

Regular readers of this blog will know that at our cosmetic surgery practice in Manchester, we have always emphasised a reasonable consultation period.

During these consultations, patients are invited to meet me and the team so that we can discuss every aspect of their chosen procedure.  We always help our patients to understand what outcomes we can achieve and we do go into detail about the techniques we use – we have always found that it’s helpful to give patients lots of information, even if it can seem a little over-whelming.  Because the decision to have cosmetic surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly or quickly, we encourage patients to take their time to absorb the information and come back to us with any further questions.

Sometimes our consultations are lengthy and sometimes they are even repeated – if a patient needs to ask more questions before making a final decision, that’s entirely understandable and we’re very flexible.

If you have a question about cosmetic surgery, please get in touch.  We are always happy to help.


This article was originally published on our main site: http://www.jamesvmurphy.com/what-good-came-of-the-pip-breast-implant-scandal/


Mr Murphy is a fully accredited plastic surgeon and is entered into the General Medical Council (GMC) specialist register for plastic surgery. He is a full member of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).

James Murphy – who has written posts on 3D Plastic Surgery | Manchester.

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