Last month, the government launched a national breast implant registry, following on from Recommendation 21 made in Sir Bruce Keogh’s Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions, published in April 2013 in the aftermath of the PIP breast implant scandal.
Following the discovery a few years previously that French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) were using industrial rather than medical grade silicone in their implants which had a higher than average rupture rate, British women who’d previously undergone a breast augmentation were understandably highly concerned that their implants were faulty and a potential health problem. It’s estimated that almost 50,000 women in the UK were affected, although poor record keeping in some clinics and hospital chains made it even more difficult for women to find the assurance or otherwise that they wanted.
In light of the scandal, the British government asked Sir Bruce to carry out an investigation into the cosmetic surgery industry in the UK and his report listed a number of recommendations, including the establishment of a breast implant registry.
The registry aims to capture all information about breast implant surgery, whether carried out by the NHS or in private practice. The registry has a two-fold purpose. The first is a preventative measure; by capturing this data it is possible to identify trends or potential complications and act on them accordingly.
However, the main reason is to prevent the confusion and upset that ensued after the PIP problem. In event of a safety concern, cosmetic surgeons or clinics will be provided with the most up-to-date information on affected patients who they can contact for any necessary follow-up.
Breast Implant Registry FAQs
Here’s some questions prospective breast augmentation patients may have about this new development.
- Do I have a choice about whether I’m included on the breast implant registry?
During your consultation at my Leamington breast augmentation clinic, I will explain what the breast implant registry entails and provide you with a patient information leaflet and a consent form. The form allows you to choose whether you are registered or not.
- Do I have to pay extra for the breast implant registry?
No. Currently, the registry is being paid for by the Department of Health, so no cosmetic surgery provider should be adding anything ‘extra’ to their bill.
- How will my data be used?
If there was a problem with a particular type of implant, then the Department of Health would be able to use the information it has collected to contact the relevant patients. Also reports may be compiled that can be used to evaluate the different types of implants and their use and outcome, but no individual patient will be identifiable in these reports.
- Can my data be added if I’ve already had a breast implant?
If you wish to have your details registered, then your cosmetic surgeon or clinic would have to be able to provide all the details of the implant used to the registry.
- What happens if there is a problem with my breast implant?
If it is deemed necessary to contact patients, then NHS records are used to find their most current address. Then the Department of Health will contact the clinic, hospital or individual surgeon who carried out the breast implant surgery, so they can get in touch with their patients and take whatever steps are deemed necessary to ensure their safety.
Sir Bruce’s review actually called for a breast implant registry to be established within 12 months of publication of the report so you can see how slow the wheels of government move. However, we must take the view that its better late than never in terms of improving patient safety.
If you have any further questions about the breast implant registry or about the breast implant surgery itself, then call 01926-436341 to book a consultation at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic.