PIP implant rupture rates – true scale of the controversy

PIP implant rupture rates – true scale of the controversy

A group from Edinburgh have reported on the true scale of PIP implant rupture rates. It is now well accepted that the controversial French PIP breast silicone implants (withdrawn in 2010) are known to have a much high than normal rupture rate. On the 18th June 2012 the UK Government Expert Group chaired by NHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh released its Final Report following an extensive review of previous and new evidence available about the content and performance of the PIP breast implants. They confirmed a much higher than normal rupture rate for PIP implants (6 to 12% after 5 years, rising to 15 to 30% after 10 years) but they reiterated the statement that there was no evidence that the implants posed any harm to human health.

To date there have been limited studies published about PIP implant rupture rates. Mr Awf Quaba, a consultant plastic surgeon from Edinburgh Scotland recently presented his extensive work on PIP implant revisional surgery at the British Assossiation of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). His presentation included data on over 300 women who have had their PIP implants removed (over 600 implants) at the Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh. The rupture rate per patient is 35% over an average follow up period of more than 7 years. This confirms the abnormally high rupture rate of these implants in what is believed to be one of the largest series of PIP implants from a single surgeon. The study has also shown that ultrasound scanning is an incredibly sensitive measure for detecting rupture of PIP implants with a sensitivity and specificity of over 90% in the study.

The advice remains that PIP implants should be removed and exchanged where possible, especially if there is evidence of rupture. Those patients who are not in a position to have implants removed should at the minimum have regular ultrasound scans to make sure that their implants are not ruptured.