On June 24, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) released a statement following a television show aired on Channel 4, Dispatches, that questioned the safety of breast implants.
The programme discussed two concerns around breast implant procedures; a very rare form of cancer and breast implant illness (BII); a term used by patients who have breast implants and describe a variety of generalised symptoms that they feel are directly connected to their silicone implants.
Concerns surrounding the safety of breast implants have been longstanding and in December last year, Allergan’s textured surface implants were removed from the UK market. However, BAAPS has explained that despite the recent heightened media attention, there has been no change in scientific evidence.
In the statement released, the BAAPS advised that concerned patients need not take any action at this stage. They said that patients should continue their routine follow up with their healthcare professional and discuss any questions they have about their breast implants with their practitioner. The association stated that based on the most up-to-date scientific data available, there is no need to remove or exchange any current implants as unnecessary surgery may cause additional harm in a small number of patients.
Consultant plastic and hand surgeon and vice president of BAAPS Miss Mary O’Brien, said, “Breast implant illness is a lay term describing a wide range of symptoms experienced by group of patients that they attribute to their breast implant surgery. Currently, this is not a recognised medical diagnosis and therefore there are no diagnostic criteria nor investigative protocols. The reality is that a small proportion of patients exist who are very troubled by these nonspecific symptoms. This group of patients deserve respect from clinicians in being listened to and supported going forwards. This support is not necessarily surgical. Further robust research is one way forward to find answers along with collaboration with the MHRA, breast implant registry and other professional associations and patient groups.”