Breast Implant Register To 'Clean Up Industry'

Every Breast Implant Operation To Be Recorded On New Register

30.12.2013

Ministers have announced that every new breast implant operation in England will be recorded on a new register.

There has previously been criticism that the cosmetic sector does not do enough to encourage transparency among clinics and, in the past, this has caused serious health issues for some users.

This is despite rising fortunes in the industry, with - according to the BBC - revenue increasing from £750 million in 2005 to £2.3 billion in 2010.

But optimism about the state of the cosmetic surgery sector remains low among activists and politicians who believe more should be done in the wake of the PIP implant scandal, which saw 300,000 women globally affected by a silicone gel with an increased rupture rate.

Under new rules posted by ministers, breast implant surgical procedures will have to be recorded and added to a centralised database where all operations are registered, as this was previously not compulsory and made it hard for forensic checks on the wellbeing of care recipients.

But experts believe this will not be the only measure introduced by the government.

The Department of Health has repeatedly reiterated its belief that adverts promoting breast implants are often irresponsible and has worked with the Advertising Standards Agency to ban competitions for men to "win a boob-job" for their girlfriends - as well as prohibiting buy-one-get-one-free deals.

Officials at the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) have welcomed the government's implementation of a nation-wide register.

BAAPS president Rajiv Grover said: "We are thoroughly relieved that the Government has seen the light in terms of the importance of reinstating the implant register.

"Whilst independent consultants and many reputable groups were able to easily contact their patients during the PIP implant crisis, the scandal shone a light on shoddy recordkeeping from many corners of the sector; with women being given the wrong or no information at all."

BAAPS have long campaigned for the introduction of a trial, but now wants Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to follow in England's footsteps.

Expert Opinion
Through our work acting for people who have suffered serious physical and psychological injuries as a result of safety failings in cosmetic surgery of all kinds, we have seen first-hand how patients have been affected by the worrying lack of regulation in this field.

"The introduction of a register for the proper recording of information regarding breast implant procedures is an important step forward which will go some way towards ensuring that a proper picture of standards in the industry can be developed, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that standards meet the required level.

"However, this remains only a single step forward and there is plenty more to be done to improve cosmetic surgery regulations. The aim must be to ultimately ensure that patients are guaranteed to receive the care and ongoing support which they so often need, as well as that professionals found to not be meeting required standards are quickly identified, investigated and, where necessary, held to account."
Julie Lewis, Partner