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Ultrasound Finds Scary UK Implant Failure Rate

April 18, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging
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Ultrasound reveals that the failure rate of the now-notorious Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) silicone breast implants may be as high as 33.8 percent, according to a British plastic surgeon.

PIP was a French company, founded in 1991, that produced breast implants. At some point, the company began to cut costs by using industrial-grade rather than medical-grade silicone in most of its implants. In 2009, French surgeons began reporting unusually high rupture rates. The implants were banned in 2010. Last year, the company went into liquidation.

PIP implants were never licensed for use in the United States.

A new study attempted to measure the failure rate of the implants in the United Kingdom. Jan J. Stanek, MD, senior author of the study, explained:

Previous studies have typically reported failure rates of between 2 percent and 5 percent, and these estimates have been based on secondary data. In this study, all participants were scanned by ultrasound, which provides conclusive indication of rupture.

Dr. Stanek was quoted in a news release about the study. The study was published online last month in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery.

Subjects of the study were 453 patients of Surgical Aesthetics, Dr. Stanek’s London plastic surgery practice, who had received PIP silicone breast implants between January 2000 and August 2005. Patients who could be contacted were offered a free consultation and a referral for an ultrasound scan.

Dr. Stanek reported that the ultrasounds found a rupture rate of 33.8 percent. Even if all of those who didn’t respond had no ruptures, the rupture rate would have been 15.9 percent.

“Being only a single-handed practice,” the study says, “this initial study is the tip of an iceberg that may affect 40,000 women in the UK with PIP implants.”

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Related seminar: Breast Imaging and Intervention: A Comprehensive Review


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