Ruptered Implants or PIP Implants

Ruptered Implants or PIP Implants

What happens when a silicone implant ruptures?

Whilst the risks of an implant rupturing are very low in the UK when an implant ruptures, the side effects can be unpleasant and include deformation of scar tissue which can change the shape and feel of the breast. The gel can also be an irritant, causing pain and inflammation and as a result make the implant more difficult to remove the silicone gel filling can leak into the body.
Silicone that leaks out of a ruptured implant may cause problems, such as siliconomas or a gel bleed (see below).

If you have a silicone breast implant that ruptures, the silicone may spread outside of the scar capsule and into your breast. This can lead to small lumps developing that are known as siliconomas.
Siliconomas can be tender to touch and if they are causing significant pain they may need to be removed. In rare cases, the silicone can spread to the muscles under your breast, your armpit or around the nerves to your arm.

Gel bleed
A gel bleed is where tiny particles of silicone are released from the surface of a silicone breast implant. This can occur when the breast implant ruptures, or sometimes it can happen when there is no rupture.
If the silicone particles get into the lymphatic system (the network of vessels that help the body to fight infection), they can be transported to nearby lymph nodes (glands), such as those in the armpit. This may cause the lymph nodes to become slightly swollen. This is usually a minor problem, although in some cases the enlarged lymph nodes may become uncomfortable.

For more information on this please see:

Symptoms of a rupture implant:
Worryingly most implants may rupture without any symptoms. Symptoms may however  include the following:

•    Unevenness in breast size
•    Decreased breast size
•    Lumps
•    Change in sensation
•    Pain or tenderness
•    Burning
•    Redness or fever 

An implant rupture can be detected during a clinical examination and it is strongly recommended that if you are concerned about the state of your implants you seek an appointment with the Surgeon who provided the implant or your GP.

The health professional should prescribe additional examinations such as an ultrasound scan or in the case of your GP, an urgent referral to a Surgeon.

Where can we help:
•    If you have consulted your GP and have received confirmation that you have suffered a ruptured implant whether PIP or not and the rupture is causing you to experience any of the symptoms listed above. 

•    A late or failed diagnosis resulting in an extension of your symptoms.  For example if you have consulted your GP or Surgeon and they have failed to diagnose a rupture but you subsequently obtain a second opinion and discover that you have been suffering from a rupture.

•    If you may have received a PIP Implant after 31 March 2010 when the implants were recalled. 

The ongoing controversy surrounding the now infamous PIP implants has naturally drawn both the public and the legal professions interest.  At Roberts Jackson we have been following this story with close scrutiny to establish whether there is any way we can provide a remedy for those who may have been affected.  

On 31 March 2010 the implants by the French firm Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) were recalled and their use banned after they were found to contain industrial grade silicone gel, rather than medical grade and that whilst tests have not shown any increased risk of toxicity from this filler compared with normal implants The concerns have arisen from mechanical testing which has shown the implant covers may have an increased risk of rupturing.

The response to the controversy has varied, notably between the UK and France. Whilst French Authorities have reported a high rupture rate and are offering to remove all implants. UK figures have reported a lower rupture rate and as such have not recommended the removal of the implants until the completion of their review.
Depending on which organisation is reporting them, some reports have stated that 7% of PIP Implants have been known to rupture within the UK alone, whereas the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services says that after considering data from thousands of patients the rupture rate was within the industry standard of 1-2%.

However, it has been highlighted by some experts that many patients who have suffered ruptures go back to the NHS to deal with the rupture.  As a result there are concerns over the accuracy of the data provided. Speaking on the Today programme, the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley is urging clinics to provide the relevant data so that an accurate review can be completed. 
As legal professionals we believe that at this moment in time there is not enough data available to either ourselves or the government in order for us to make a proper assessment of the extent of any negligence by UK clinics.

Should you have your PIP Implants removed?
At present both French and Venezuela authorities are erring on the side of caution and have recommended removal as a precautionary measure. However the UK stance appears to differ with the advice currently being provided that there is no need for routine implant removal.
The Department of Health has confirmed that the health secretary met has met with a number of experts on Tuesday to discuss the latest developments. It also said: “The expert group will meet tomorrow to discuss the preliminary findings on PIP breast implants.”

There has been further warning that women have the implants removed at this stage may do so unnecessarily and may have to foot the bill themselves unless evidence regarding the rupture rate is reviewed and routine removal is recommended. 

If you have concerns regarding the status of your implants it is highly recommended that you seek advice and examination from your GP or the Surgeon who provided you with the implants.
If you believe that any of the above applies to you then please contact us for a free chat with one of our specialist solicitors on 01625 544 633 or email 

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