Breast Implant Scandal Spurs U.K. Cosmetic Surgery Review

Nose jobs and cosmetic procedures face increased scrutiny in the U.K. after at least 490 British women were forced to undergo surgery to remove faulty French breast implants.

The Department of Health is reviewing the cosmetic surgery industry and may tighten rules, according to an e-mailed statement from the government. National Health Service Medical Director Bruce Keogh will lead the effort, which will examine whether people have the right amount of information before undergoing procedures and how to ensure patients get appropriate care after surgery, the department said.

French authorities pulled breast implants made by Poly Implant Prothese SA from the market in 2010 after discovering higher rupture rates and last year recommended that all PIP implants be removed after a woman died. As many as 47,000 women in the U.K. received PIP implants, about 95 percent of them from private providers, according to the state-run NHS.

“The recent problems with PIP breast implants have shone a light on the cosmetic surgery industry,” Keogh said in the statement. “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.”

Nose Jobs

The review will consider a range of procedures, including nose jobs, breast enlargement or reduction, facelifts, liposuction and anti-wrinkle treatments. A national implant register for products including breast implants will also be considered, the department said in the statement.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said it would welcome the establishment of a national register and suggested that the government consider restricting advertisements to protect patients.

“The BAAPS has been campaigning for many years for better regulations of the cosmetic surgery sector,” the group said in an e-mailed statement. “We very much would like the review to look at the issue of advertising of cosmetic surgery that is widely used to prey on the vulnerability of patients who seek cosmetic surgery for psychological reasons.”

A panel of eight experts will assist Keogh, including a plastic surgeon, a psychologist and a patient advocate on PIP implants. Keogh’s team will make recommendations to the government by March.

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