Danielle Holliday, civil litigation partner at Collins Solicitors, gives advice to one reader on the ongoing PIP scandal
Q: I had PIP breast implants in 2007. I have been watching the news since December about the PIP implants made in France being dangerous. It feels like I may have a ticking timebomb inside me and that my implants may rupture at any time. I don’t know what my options are. Who I should talk to about the danger PIP implants pose or how to get them replaced?
A: The health risks posed by PIP implants are currently very uncertain, as there is a lack of reliable evidence. In any event, if you have suffered – or think you may have suffered – a rupture of one or both of your implants, it is important to seek medical advice. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has issued guidance indicating symptoms of possible concern, which include: change in the shape or lumpiness of the breast; hardening or firmness of the breast; tenderness or swelling of the breast; pain and discomfort in the breast or armpit; persistent burning sensation; swelling of the lymph nodes/glands.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, or want general advice about your PIP implants, the best course of action is to contact your clinic or surgeon if you had your implants put in privately, or your GP if they were put in by the NHS or if your private clinic or surgeon is no longer practicing.
The Department of Health has made clear it expects private clinics and surgeons to provide consultations to people who have had PIP implants.
You should receive advice about your implants and about the risk of rupture. You should also be able to discuss having your implants removed and replaced. This advice should include a free scan to provide further evidence as to whether the implants have ruptured, if required.
Unfortunately, many private clinics are refusing to remove or replace PIP implants free of charge, some even refusing to do so in cases of rupture. This means if you want your PIP implants replaced you may well incur a significant additional cost.
Collins Solicitors believes, however, that women who have had PIP implants may well have a case against the clinic or surgeon who put them in, depending on individual circumstances. If you wish to discuss this, please do not hesitate to contact the PIP Implant Team directly on 01923 223324, 0800 731 5821 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Collins Solicitors on 01923 223324 or visit www.collinslaw.co.uk