“Terror has certainly gripped patients who have the implants, but I don’t believe the desire for breast enlargement surgery is going to diminish,” said Gabriel Obayi, a surgeon who has been answering many emails from women concerned about health risks.
France’s Health Safety Agency has said one type of implants made by PIP appear to be more rupture-prone than others. French investigators say PIP sought to save money by using industrial silicone, the potential risks of which are not yet clear.
Last week, French authorities filed preliminary charges against PIP’s founder, Jean-Claude Mas, who according to his lawyer is under investigation for “involuntary injury.”
Debate over the potential health risks of silicone breast implants prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to launch an investigation last year into a possible link between implants and a very rare form of cancer.
The FDA asked American doctors to report all cases of the cancer, known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Last year, the agency said it had learned of about 60 cases of the disease worldwide, among the estimated 5 million to 10 million women with implants.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, has said silicone breast implants are “not classifiable” as to whether or not they cause cancer.
The FDA banned the silicone-gel type in 1992 amid fears it might cause cancer, lupus and other diseases. But in 2006 the agency returned the implants to the U.S. market after most studies failed to find a link between silicone breast implants and disease.
As for the PIP implants, French authorities have recommended that women in the country get them removed after more than 1,000 ruptures, and agreed to pay for the procedure.
“We don’t know, neither in Venezuela nor Latin America, what percentage of PIP implants rupture,” said Dr. Carlos Nieto, a surgeon and board member of the Venezuelan Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
It’s also unclear how many women in Latin America have had the implants removed so far.
In Argentina, about 300 women are negotiating with private clinics and a local distributor, Pro Estetica, demanding the defective implants be replaced for free, said attorney Virgina Luna, who represents the group. If an agreement cannot be reached, Luna said, the women plan to sue.
Many doctors in Venezuela have been telling their patients they don’t need to replace their implants unless they have ruptured.
Gabriela Febres, a 30-year-old financial analyst, has joined the legal case against Venezuelan distributors. She suspects she needs to have surgery soon because her right breast has been hurting for weeks.View Entire Story
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