Thursday, 23 February 2012


With thousands of women now being referred to the NHS to get their breast implants removed, it's time to remind ourselves at how the PIP scandal has veered alarmingly close to Thanet. This is not a Harley Street sob story suffered only by Footballers' Wives or Page 3 bimbos. As a matter of fact, it might surprise you to learn that one of the women who became an outspoken critic of PIP implants after her health was badly affected was a lady from Ramsgate.

In the early days of the press furore, Amanda Harrison, the 40-year-old Ramsgatonian, spoke out on the Telegraph website about her plight where she told her story of how she was initially rushed into hospital on suspicion of suffering from viral meningitis. As it transpired, her PIP breast implants had ruptured and the gel had leaked out into her body, spreading to her lymph nodes and causing two lumps on her spine, leaving her in a great deal of pain.

If you've not heard about PIP implants, it's about time you did. Women who've had PIP silicone breast implants fitted have been worried sick since discovering that they have been prone to rupture and leaking. If that's not bad enough, the real outrage is that it's now surfaced that the type of gel in PIP implants has not been approved by health authorities and, shockingly, is the same sort of stuff they use to fill mattresses.

It's truly shocking that prostheticists got away with injecting women with what is ostensibly industrial silicone (more commonly used for computers and electronic devices) and not realising how risky and potentially toxic it was to insert into the human body. Critics of breast enhancement may scoff and snipe that this is a case of suffering for one's vanity, but I think this is short-sighted as it overlooks how cosmetic surgeons in the private sector have clearly crossed the line.

7.5% of women who had breast implants done privately are now seeking NHS help to get them removed. Obviously, should it be deemed necessary, I do think the NHS should help these women, as this is a problem that's occurred through no fault of their own. PIPs have also been sold to men requiring testicle implants, lest we forget, so if my scrotum was on the line I certainly would expect the NHS to come save my bacon, as it were. What sort of country would we be living in if the NHS refused to grant help to those who needed it most?

However, we should not forget the fact that prostheticists working in the private sector have a duty to stick to medically-approved implants, and the fact that they haven't been has thrown a huge stick of dynamite amongst the pigeons. Even if this might seem like a fringe concern to the people of Thanet, it clearly isn't, particularly in Amanda Harrison's case.

Do you know anyone else from Thanet who's been affected by the PIP implant scandal? Is the NHS right to remove PIP breast implants from women on the public purse? Let me know your thoughts.


  1. I have a friend who despite being under the Pain Clinic and having the highest dose of pain relief possible without her overdosing on Morphine has a very poor quality of life. She has been in this state for over a year and is on the waiting list for surgery. She has been on and off this waiting list (through mistakes at the hospital) for months. She phones me everyday and sobs her heart out stating that she can't go on any longer and wants to kill herself as the pain is so severe 24hrs a day EVERY day.

    She has always worked in a profession looking after others. Why should people like her and others needing life saving operations have to be put back even further on the waiting list.

    I do, however, strongly believe that any women who had to have breast reduction/masectomies because of cancer SHOULD be treated on the NHS with high priority.

    For those who interfered with their boobs for vanity reasons that was your choice. Don't make everyone else now pay the high price. Perhaps they could do without their two weeks in Spain this year and forgo their tanning sessions, appointments to have their acrylic nails done and make do with last year's wardrobe to help them fund the corrective surgery.

  2. Luke
    As always it seems nowadays we are presented with a difficult moral dilemma. There are two reasons for breast implants - corrective surgery following mastectomy or the like, and vanity. As I understand it the former (NHS) set of patients were not implanted with PIP bags so this means that the problem lies with the vain. However, even the vain have some call on the NHS so I think their implants should be removed, however unless there is evidence that they are in danger there should be no queue-jumping here. I also think that it not be unreasonable to ask for some contribution towards the cost
    There is little point pursuing the private doctors who did the implanting in the first place; a number of them have publicly stated that they would put their companies into administration rather than go this this expense. So much for Hippocratic Oaths.
    Oh, and maybe, somehow, the idea that big boobs is what all men look for can be laid to rest. The old adage about handfuls comes to mind. If women didn't think that having medicine balls hanging off their chests was the way to attract a mate then maybe the problem would go away.
    And finally. Proper regulation of these clinics, with frequent inspections by officials from DoH to ensure that they are using correct procedures and equipment.

  3. I hate "enhanced" breasts with a passion, & for nearly 5 years now have refused to photograph models with them, no matter how nice the rest of them looks...