The PIP breast implant scandal has been center-stage in the aesthetic safety news over the past few months, and has resulted in several criminal charges against executives of the French company, Poly Implant Prosthese (PIP), that was responsible for manufacturing breast implants with industrial-grade silicone instead of medical silicone in an effort to cut costs.
PIP implants were distributed throughout Europe and South America, and even though the rate of rupture appears to be at least double the rate of medical-grade implants, there is still no consensus on whether or not the implants should be removed.
PIP breast implants were never sold in the United States, but if you are one of the thousands of women who received PIP breast implants in another country, keep reading for more information…
How do i know if I have PIP breast implants?
If you’ve had your breast implants placed in any country except the United States, there is a chance that they are PIP implants. Most surgeons give their patients a card that has information about the implants he or she used, so if you have one, check there first. If you never received a card, or can’t find it, contact your surgeon to find out what type of implant was placed.
Why should I have my PIP breast implants removed?
PIP breast implants were manufactured with industrial-grade silicone, which is much different than medical-grade silicone. Medical-grade silicone is produced under very strict guidelines of purity and sterility, and is intended for use in many implantable medical devices. Industrial-grade silicone is not produced with any of these standards, and is therefore more likely to contain contaminants and chemicals that are not safe for surgical or injectible implantation. Substandard quality silicone was not only used to fill PIP implants, but was also used to manufacture the implant shell, which is believed to be responsible for the higher rate of rupture in PIP breast implants. There is no medical evidence that PIP implants have resulted in any adverse medical conditions, but it is somewhat of a common sense issue in that breast implants that may be contaminated with substances that are not meant to be implanted should probably be removed or replaced before problems develop.
Should I have my PIP breast implants replaced with medical-grade implants?
Most women will have a better aesthetic result by replacing their PIP implants with medical-grade implants from legitimate manufacturers like Allergan or Mentor. Since natural breast tissue atrophies with breast implants, and since the skin stretches, it may be very difficult for your plastic surgeon to recreate a visually-appealing breast if no implant is replaced.
You should also know that a plastic surgeon who is experienced at breast implant exchange surgery can also make your new implants look better than your old ones by adjusting their position to give you more cleavage, getting rid of ripples and wrinkles, or lifting the breast for a perkier, more youthful look. The size of your implants can also be adjusted , and so can the position, which can lead to better symmetry, more cleavage, and less space between your implants.
That being said, if you have been considering having your implants removed for other reasons (too heavy, too much sagging, etc), then you may opt for implant removal without replacement as long as you understand that your breasts will be quite deflated and considerably saggy.
How long does the procedure take to replace PIP breast implants?
Exchanging your PIP breast implants is usually a much easier procedure than having the original implants placed. For most women, there is much less pain and swelling after the exchange surgery, and the recovery period is much shorter. Many women can go back to work the very next day, and can go back to full physical activity in a week or less.
How much does it cost to replace PIP breast implants?
The cost of the exchange surgery depends on several factors: the experience and location of your plastic surgeon, the implants you choose to replace the PIP’s, and whether or not any other adjustments need to be done to give you a better look. Your plastic surgeon will discuss all of these factors with you during your consultation, but you can expect a price range from $4000-$8500. A few European countries are offering to reimburse you for the cost of removing PIP implants, but not for replacing them, and as with any government-sponsored reimbursement program, it may take a great deal of time to receive a payment. Removing PIP implants without replacing them may be less expensive than the above price range.
Where can I find more information about replacing PIP breast implants?
If you would like to schedule a consultation about PIP breast implant removal or replacement, feel free to call or text our office at 917-703-7069, send us an email at MAS@ManhattanAestheticSurgery.com, or visit our website at www.ManhattanAestheticSurgery.com.
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