Consultant Plastic Surgeon Mr Richard Matthews discusses the need for a breast implant registry

Consultant plastic surgeon Mr Richard Matthews has a busy private and NHS practice in Leamington and throughout Warwickshire. He talks to Cosmetic Surgery Today about the report by Sir Bruce Keogh into the aesthetic industry and the recommendations of the report.

One recommendation of Sir Bruce Keogh’s report is that a breast implant registry should be re-established. Has it happened and why do you think it is so important?

We used to have a breast implant registry in the UK but unfortunately the funding ran out for that in 2004 and it’s not been re-established since and still has not been full re-established despite the recommendations of Sir Bruce Keogh.

A breast implant registry needs appropriate funding and it wouldn’t be very expensive, but its value shouldn’t be underestimated. We have a National Joint Registry (NJR) that was set up to collect information on all hip, knee, ankle, elbow and shoulder replacement operations and to monitor the performance of the implants which runs very successfully.

The reason why it is so crucial has been fully illustrated by the PIP implant scandal. We have no way of accurately tracing the women who have had these implants, let alone where or by whom. The exact date is very important in relation to PIPs as it is possible then to determine whether they were inserted during a period where the implants were possibly safe or, subsequently, when the fraudulent manufacturing took place.

If we’d had the implant registry we would have been able to get in touch with these women and recall them, in much the same way as if a fault is detected in the manufacturing process of a car you can get in touch with the owners to prevent accidents happening.

Then we could examine the implants and consider whether something should be done at once or whether the women should return for periodic evaluations.