Implant removal surgery proposed
Venezuela is offering free surgery for women to remove faulty French-made breast implants, the country's top health official said.
Health Minister Eugenia Sader said women with implants made by the now-defunct French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) may go to hospitals that carry out plastic surgery to have the implants removed, the state-run Venezuelan News Agency reported.
Ms Sader said that the free procedure will simply be to remove the implants and will not include replacing them.
"Those patients are running a risk," Ms Sader said. However, she said, women need not seek emergency care and instead may visit hospitals at their convenience.
France's health system has recommended that women with the PIP implants get them replaced, and has agreed to pay for surgery.
In Brazil and Argentina, however, health officials just recommend check-ups.
The president of Brazil's Plastic Surgeons Association, Jose Horacio Aboudib, said: "I'd remove them from any patient that wants to, but I don't see the need for everyone to go into surgery."
"In France, the government pays for the surgery. Here it is not considered a public health risk, and so the patient would have to pay for it," Mr Aboudib added, noting that his association will create a breast implant registry in January, so that doctors can register information on surgeries and the implant material used in a database aimed at improving patient safety and care.