Cosmetic surgery views sought after breast implant scare


Sir Bruce Keogh, head of the review: "There are some pretty grubby practices going on"

Related Stories

People are being asked for their views on the cosmetic surgery industry after the recent PIP scandal, where thousands of women were given breast implants containing substandard material.

The review, requested by the health secretary, will look at whether tighter regulation is needed in England.

And it will ask if people are given enough information about surgery.

About 7,000 women in England are having checks for faulty breast implants and hundreds have now had them removed.

Although the unauthorised silicone filler used in the PIP breast implants is not thought to be toxic or cancer-causing, there were safety concerns.

Start Quote

I am concerned that too many people do not realise how serious cosmetic surgery is and do not consider the lifelong implications it can have”

End Quote Sir Bruce Keogh NHS Medical Director

They were found to have double the rupture rate of other implants.

Around 47,000 women in the UK have PIP breast implants, mostly done privately rather than on the NHS.

Lessons to learn

The problem came to light at the end of 2011, shortly after the French government recommended all women with PIP implants have them removed as a precaution.

But there were warnings made by surgeons to UK authorities about adverse effects for many years before this.

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, who is leading the English review which will report in early 2013, said: "The recent problems with PIP breast implants have shone a light on the cosmetic surgery industry.

"Many questions have been raised, particularly around the regulation of clinics, whether all practitioners are adequately qualified, how well people are advised when money is changing hands, aggressive marketing techniques, and what protection is available when things go wrong.

"I am concerned that too many people do not realise how serious cosmetic surgery is and do not consider the lifelong implications it can have. That's why I have put together this review committee to advise me in making recommendations to government on how we can better protect people who choose to have surgery or cosmetic interventions.

Cost an issue

"We want to hear views from everyone, particularly people who have experience of the cosmetic surgery industry or of other cosmetic interventions - good and bad - so we can learn what works best."

A poll by ComRes of 1,762 people shows that many people consider the cost of surgery more important than the qualifications of the people doing it or how they will be looked after.

Two-thirds of those questioned considered cost as a factor when deciding whether or not to have cosmetic surgery. Half said they would take the qualifications of their doctor into consideration and less than half would consider the quality of their aftercare when reaching a decision.

And as a result of the PIP breast implant scandal, almost half of women who said they would have considered cosmetic surgery before, say that they are now less likely to have it.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    At the end of the day we all want to look as good as we can, some are natural blessed with good looks and and good body, but if you're in the majority that aren't and you're aware of the risks involved with surgery and you can afford to do something about it then why not?

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    I think the key word here is "surgery". ALL surgery is potentially risky. It's invasive and unnatural. Cosmetic surgery is no different in principle to having your appendix removed! The trouble is, it seems to be perceived as a while-you-wait procedure, like getting your tyres changed. Being anesthetized and having chemical compounds stuffed into your body is, by definition, highly dangerous!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    Cosmetic surgery should not be available on the NHS, but if someone wishes to spend their own money on it, I don't think we should stand in their way. It's people own money and they should be free to spend it as they wish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Romana, I agreed totally with your views about putting up with what you have. Until spending hours with my daughter trying to buy bras and beachwear, and her desparation over her figure. Then witnessing her ecstacy at having breasts, and seeing her 'blossoming' as an individual has made me rethink my views on this. However I would not expect the NHS to pay for thism or future replacements

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    There will always be a market for people wanting private cosmetic surgery for one reason or another. However I do believe that the medical information regarding their particular surgery/treatment should be strictly regulated by an independent professional body and consistent across whatever practitioner you may chose to go to.


Comments 5 of 8


More Health stories


Features & Analysis

BBC Future

(Caitlin McNeill)

Do we all see the same colours?

Intriguing science behind #TheDress


  • A robot holding a table legClick Watch

    The robots who build flat-pack furniture - teaching machines to work collaboratively

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.