Lawyers 'put silicone use at risk'

THE FUTURE USE of body implants that contain silicone, including heart valves and hip joints, may be put in jeopardy by greedy American lawyers, experts warned yesterday, writes Celia Hall.

Advertisements have appeared in American journals inviting men who have had penile implants to contact lawyers in the wake of the controversy over silicone breast implants and the decision this month in Birmingham, Alabama, to make dollars 4.2bn ( pounds 2.8m) available to compensate women who had problems after surgery.

'Women are suffering because of the misinformation spread by avaricious lawyers in the United States,' Michael Dixon, a consultant surgeon at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, said yesterday. 'Some are requesting removal of perfectly safe breast implants, which previously they were completely happy with, because of all this hype coming from the States.'

Mr Dixon was speaking at a briefing to reassure British women about the safety of silicone implants. He added: 'There is no reason for anyone with long-term implants to undergo the unnecessary risks of further, needless surgery.'