If you know you have PIP implants – what should you do?

If you know you have PIP implants – what should you do?

It is extremely important to confirm with your surgeon if they used PIP implants during your augmentation. They are the best person to give you advice. You will need to consult your plastic surgeon and undergo special investigations to confirm if the implant is still intact.

Luckily in SA – very few surgeons actually used PIP implants. They were however available in SA between the year 2006–2009.
However, due to the media frenzy in January 2012, the APRSSA (Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons) compiled a policy document as regards the management of these patients in SA. This is a combination of guidelines published by the NHS in the UK. French authorities based on statistics and medical studies. In that, there is no evidence yet to suggest routine removal of all PIP breast implants. All patients who have PIP implants should be contacted and reassured.

In the absence of clinical symptoms of rupture, patients should not be advised to seek ex-plantation but should have regular follow-up examinations and yearly sonar appraisals. In the presence of both intra-capsular and extra-capsular rupture, ex-plantation is mandatory. Patients should then be given the option of re-implantation, ex-plantation alone. Ex-plantation with mastopexy (breast lift), in the scenario of redundant skin. Rupture is highly likely if you experience pain, heat around the breast area, redness, inflammation & rippling. Should the patient request removal of implants in the absence of rupture then the risk-benefit ratio should be discussed and the patient managed appropriately.

With the arrest of Jean-Claude Mas (the founder of PIP implants) and his company filing for bankruptcy – where does that leave the more than 200 000 patients worldwide?

In SA – the APRSSA has stated that the surgeons using PIP implants had at the time no reason to believe that the devices they were using were inferior quality and cannot, therefore, be accountable for the company’s wrongdoing. The association has however requested all of its members to try to help patients in this critical situation.

Your surgeon should have provided you with documentation and your implant ID card after your breast augmentation surgery. This card will supply you with details of the make, size, surgery date and batch number. It is important to always keep this card in a safe place for future references. If you no longer have this information, contact your surgeon who should be able to provide you with these details.