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PIP Implants…What you should know

PIP implants are breast implants made by a French manufacturer, Poly Implant Prothese (PIP). The company was required by French authorities to stop production of its silicone implants in 2010 when it was discovered that these implants were rupturing at a rate that was two times the industry standard. Ruptures or leakages have been reported in more than 1000 French women with PIP silicone implants. According to French prosecutors, among other cost cutting measures by PIP, the company also substituted inexpensive industrial-grade silicone for medical grade-silicone which is the standard for the industry. The company has since declared bankruptcy and its original CEO is in jail.

Only 20% of silicone implants were sold in France. The other 80% of PIP silicone implants were sold outside of France, in countries such as Columbia, Venezuela, United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Spain. PIP silicone breast implants were never approved for use in the United States and for this reason, PIP silicone implants are only a concern for American women who have had their breast implant surgery done outside of the United States. The only PIP breast implants that were ever approved for use in the United States were pre-filled saline breast implants, and these are not the subject of any concern.

The current recommendation for patients with PIP silicone implants is to remove and/or replace the implants as a precaution, even if there are no symptoms or signs of rupture or leakage. This is an elective, non-emergency surgery which should be done at a time convenient for the patient after thoroughly discussing the surgery with her surgeon. As with any surgery, including the removal of PIP silicone breast implants, the risks of such a surgery must be balanced with the benefits of the surgery, in order to make a proper individual decision.

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