One in seven breast implant patients have complications

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Indy Lifestyle Online

One in seven women experience problems after breast implant operations, says a government booklet detailing the dangers.

One in seven women experience problems after breast implant operations, says a government booklet detailing the dangers.

For the first time women are being provided with information about the risks attached to each of the different types of breast implants available. The booklet, published by the Department of Health today, will be distributed to clinics, doctors and patient support groups.

The information covers the four types of breast implants available in the UK: Silicone Gel, Saline, Hydrogel and Polyvinyl pyrolidine solution (PVP). The booklet quotes recent evidence in Britain suggesting that one in 10 women with breast implants has had a problem with a hardening of the implant, which causes it to deform and in some cases become painful. One in seven women experiences a permanent loss of nipple sensation, and one in 20 has thick, painful scarring.

Professor Roger Sturrock, chairman of the Independent Review Group on Silicone Gel Implants, who is launching the booklet, said that. when the group reported to ministers on silicone gel implants in 1998, the lack of information available to women was a great concern. "I am delighted to say this gap has now been filled," he said.

"This is an informative and practical guide for women considering breast implants and is going to be important in helping them to form their decision."

Maxine Heasman, from the Breast Implant Information Society, who helped to produce the booklet, said the Government had taken more than a year to publish the booklet. "The final draft was approved last August and it has taken them over a year to publish it," said Ms Heasman, 38, who has had silicone breast implants for more than five years. "It is essential guidance for women who need to know exactly what they are letting themselves in for.

"There are a few foolish women who don't want to know the risks but most women do not have breast implants lightly. There is a lot of scaremongering in the press especially about silicone implants."

Peter Coles, the director of Harley Medical Group, said that there was always a chance of complications, and welcomed the booklet. "Our surgeons talk to the patients of the risks, but it is good to have them laid out in this format," he said. "It is unlikely to put anyone off having breast implants because they are normally highly motivated ladies who do not want enormous bosoms but are having the implants to look 'normal' again," he said.

The booklet said that Saline breast implants were more prone to rupture or deflation at an earlier stage than other implants, and were prone to wrinkling. Hydrogel and PVP implants were more likely to shrink or get bigger over time, but Silicone Gel implants were given a clean bill of health.

The booklet stated that implants did not interfere with the ability to breastfeed, and there was no evidence of an increase in illness in children of women with implants.

It also dispelled the myth that breast implants ruptured during air travel.