Breast implant women to be placed on register: Health department says record of surgery is only a precaution

ALL WOMEN who have had operations to enlarge or replace breasts are to be traced and placed on a national register, the Department of Health has announced.

From next month, the names of all women who undergo surgery - whether for medical or cosmetic reasons - will be logged into a national computer at the Wessex Centre for Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery in Salisbury. Doctors will also be asked to log the 100,000 or so patients who have already had operations.

The Department of Health said the move was precautionary. 'The register is about reassuring patients that we know where they are should there be any problems in the future, rather than saying there is a problem which needs addressing now.'

There is conflicting medical evidence on the safety of silicon gel breast implants. In the US at least 30,000 women are reported to have had implants removed after health scares. Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of silicon implants because of suspicions they could cause painful auto-immune diseases such as arthritis.

In several cases, implants have burst, leaking silicon into the body. In others, the tissue round the silicon has hardened. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association last autumn also revealed that breast implants can make it harder to screen women accurately for cancer.

One American woman won dollars 7.3m ( pounds 4.9m) from the implant manufacturer Dow Corning, after her silicon bags burst, while a Texas jury awarded dollars 25m ( pounds 16.4m) in damages to another who claimed that silicon gel breast implants caused an auto-immune disease after rupturing.

Following the ban in the US, Kenneth Calman, the Government's Chief Health Officer, wrote to doctors advising them that while there had been suggestions of possible links between implants and cancer and auto- immune disease, there was no firm basis for a similar embargo in Britain.

But the Lancet medical journal reported last December that 30 British women had become seriously ill with symptoms resembling rheumatoid arthritis. It said another 88 cases resembling auto-immune disease were associated with the implants.

Dr Calman wrote again in March on the findings of a group of independent experts. 'There is no evidence of an increased risk of connective tissue disease in patients who have undergone silicon gel breast implants and therefore no scientific case for changing practice or policy in the UK,' he concluded.

But uncertainty has remained, contributing to a sharp fall in implants. For example, the National Hospital for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in Bromsgrove, Hereford and Worcester, carried out 66 implants last year compared with 401 in 1991.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...