UK DoH launches review into cosmetic surgery, breast implants

India News Bulletin Desk
DoH puts breast implants and cosmetic surgery sector under scrutiny
DoH puts breast implants and cosmetic surgery sector under scrutiny

In the wake of high-profile cosmetic surgery disasters, UK’s Department of Health has put the cosmetic surgery industry under scrutiny to protect patients having cosmetic interventions.

The Department of Health (DoH) review into cosmetic surgery and procedures could force the industry to operate under tighter restrictions.

The review, requested by health secretary Andrew Lansley and led by the NHS medical director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, is in response to concerns raised about the industry following problems with PiP breast implants.

PIP (Poly Implant Prothèse) was the French company that produced breast implants. The company shut operations after the French medical safety agency recalled its implants and advised that 30,000 French women have their breast implants removed as they were made of hazardous silicone gel.

The DoH review will look at many issues including whether the right amount of regulation is in place, whether people have the right amount of information before going through with surgery and whether the patients are getting the right aftercare.

“The problems with PiP breast implants have shone a light on the cosmetic surgery industry," Professor Keogh said. “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.”

DoH and the medical officials in the UK are concerned that too many people do not realise how serious cosmetic surgery is and do not consider the life-long implications – and potential complications – it can have.

For instance, a recent study showed that many people still considered the cost of surgery as a more important factor than the qualifications of the professionals doing it, or the aftercare.

The study of 1,762 people showed that:

  • A majority (67%) of the respondents considered cost as a factor when deciding whether or not to have cosmetic surgery;
  • Only half (54%) took the qualifications of their practitioner into consideration; and
  • Less than half (44%) considered the quality of their aftercare.

However, after the PiP breast implant problems, almost half of women (45%) who said they would have considered cosmetic surgery before, said that they are now less likely to have it.

The DoH has invited members of the public to give their views on the issues of breast implants and cosmetic surgery as well as share their experiences.The call for evidence is asking for people’s views on:

  • the regulation and safety of products used in cosmetic interventions;
  • how best to ensure that the people who carry out procedures have the necessary skills and qualifications;
  • how to ensure that organisations have the systems in place to look after their patients both during their treatment and afterwards;
  • how to ensure that people considering cosmetic surgery and procedures are given the information, advice and time for reflection to make an informed choice; and
  • what improvements are needed in dealing with complaints so they are listened to and acted upon.

The review committee will make recommendations to the government on how Britain can better protect people who choose to have surgery or cosmetic interventions.

Lansley has also requested that the review panel consider a national implant register for products such as breast implants and other medical devices. The information could include the date and place of the operation, the clinical outcome as well as a method of identifying the patients who received the product.

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