HUNDREDS of Wearside women who had controversial PIP implants have been told the gel material will not cause a long-term health threat.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that about 450 women patients at Spire Washington Hospital were given the PIP breast implants that caused a national health scare.
Women rushed to clinics to find out if they were eligible to have their implants removed after reports of high rupture rates.
Now a final review, led by Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, says the implants, which were made with unauthorised silicone filler, are not toxic nor carcinogenic.
Prof Keogh said women had faced an “incredibly worrying time”.
He said that repeated tests in many countries have “shown that the implants are not toxic and therefore we do not believe they are a threat to the long-term health of women who have PIP implants.”
He added: “We have however found that these implants are substandard, when compared to other implants and that they are more likely to rupture.
“We would therefore advise that women who have symptoms of a rupture – for example tenderness, soreness or lumpiness – should speak to their surgeon or GP.”
The report says the PIP implants have around double the rupture rate of other implants.
After five years, the rate is between six per cent and 12 per cent.
After 10 years, the rate is between 15 per cent and 30 per cent.
Other brands have a failure rate between 10 per cent and 14 per cent after a decade.
The president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Fazel Fatah, said: “Despite rigorous testing showing no long-term danger to human health from the individual chemicals in the gel, the fact remains that PIPs are significantly more likely to rupture and leak and, therefore, cause physical reactions in an unacceptable proportion of the patients.
“We agree with the report findings that anxiety itself is a form of health risk and thus it is entirely reasonable for women to have the right to opt for removal – regardless of whether there has been rupture.”
The advice for patients has not changed.
Throughout the UK, any women who had PIP implants fitted on the NHS can get them removed and replaced free of charge. Private clinics have taken various different stances on removal and replacement of the implants.
At Spire Washington, women were offered a free replacement operation.