Swiss advise against implant removal

Swiss health officials have advised women in Switzerland against preventive surgery to remove risky, French-made breast implants.

This content was published on December 23, 2011 and agencies

It follows the recommendation on Friday by France’s health minister that around 30,000 women with implants made by Poly Implant Prothese have them removed at the state’s expense. He described the measure as “preventive” and not urgent.

Around 280 women in Switzerland have the implants. Swissmedic, the agency which authorises therapeutic products, said women should follow the usual guidelines, having check-ups every six months and contact doctors immediately if problems occur.

The implants are particularly fragile and there is an unusually high risk they could rupture and leak a questionable type of silicone gel into the wearer's body.

Investigators said the company used cheaper industrial silicone for the implants instead of medical silicone to save money. The implants were pulled from the market last year and the company is being liquidated.

French health officials said analyses so far have found no link between the pre-filled silicone gel implants and nine cases of cancer among women implanted with them. Standard mammograms and ultrasounds do not always indicate that an implant has ruptured.

In Britain, where around 40,000 women have the implants, officials are not yet recommending their removal.

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