Statement from the Chief Medical Officer in relation to PIP Silicone Gel Breast Implants

06 January 2012

We have noted the statement made today by the British government on the issue of breast implants provided by the now defunct French company Poly Implant Prosthese (PIP).

Since concerns regarding this particular type of breast implant were first raised, the Irish Medicines Board and the Department of Health in Ireland and have been in constant touch with European and UK investigation of the matter and with any relevant initiative involved.

Today's statement can be taken as reassuring by any women affected by this issue in that the remarks underscore the lack of any link with cancer and the fact any evidence of rupturing of the breast implants remains within the expected norms. It also concludes that there is no need for routine removal of these implants.

However, I recognise that women may still have concerns. The consistent advice, therefore, provided in Ireland has been that any woman who is concerned should contact her GP or the surgeon who carried out the procedure. That remains our clear view and recommendation to any woman who may have a concern.

We note that in Britain today the Government has said that any woman who received the implant through the NHS and who wishes to have the implant removed will be facilitated by the NHS. The British Government also says that it expects the private sector to follow suit and "to do the same for their patients".

In Ireland it is the case that no woman has had a PIP breast implant procedure carried out by a publicly funded hospital.

However I would expect that any private hospital here, which provided a PIP breast implant procedure, should be willing to provide for its removal should that course of action be recommended for a woman after consulting with her surgeon.

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