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True scale of breast implant faults unclear

By Jeremy Laurance

The scale of the breast implant scandal involving faulty silicone devices given to more than 40,000 British women cannot be determined because no one knows the true failure rate of implants, leading surgeons admitted yesterday.

The lack of regulation means no reliable records of the rupture rate exist posing a challenge for the Government review of the faulty implants manufactured by the French firm Poly Implants Prostheses (PIP).

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which approves the devices, said the failure rate was less than 1% but in France the Government has estimated a 5% failure rate while cosmetic clinic chain Transform admitted its rupture rate for the PIP implants was 7%.

Surgeons have now called for a national register of breast implants with mandatory reporting of ruptures that could pose health risks.

The French Government has even offered to pay for the removal of PIP implants but British advice is to leave them in unless problems occur.

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