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200 Scots PIP implant removals

MORE than 200 women in Scotland have had their PIP breast implants removed since fears were raised about their safety.

Figures compiled by private cosmetic surgery firm Nuffield Health, which has a hospital in Glasgow, said it had removed or replaced PIP implants in 91 patients so far this year. Only 15 were former clients.

Transform cosmetic surgery, which has clinics in Glasgow, Stirling, Ayr, Dundee and Edinburgh, said around 600 of its patients in Scotland had received PIP implants, but it didn't have a figure for those who had them removed. However, figures for Transform patients across the UK revealed 23% of clients who had undergone breast augmentation surgery with PIP implants had them removed, suggesting the figure for Scotland may be around 138.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the NHS had recorded "approximately 10 cases of implant removal where the manufacturer was defined as PIP".

Although the implants –manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prothese – were never used on the NHS in Scotland, the Scottish Government confirmed earlier this year up to 4000 women may have received them through private surgery. They were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for mattresses and have been linked to rupture and swelling in the body.

Amid the furore, the UK Department of Health (DoH) announced in January that anxious women given PIP implants on the NHS would be able to have them removed for free, with private firms expected to offer the same deal.

However, it emerged some private clinics no longer existed and others refused to remove the implants, prompting the DoH and the Scottish Government to offer NHS care to any woman whose provider refused to remove them free of charge. However, with the exception of the 5% of women who had received them for medical reasons, replacement implants were not provided on the health service.

Yesterday, the DoH confirmed around 1000 women in England and Wales had their PIP implants removed on the NHS.

Despite the scandal, a report by health experts in the summer said the implants should not cause any long-term problems. The NHS Medical Directors expert group said the gel materials used inside the implants are not toxic or carcinogenic.

Former health secretary Nicola Sturgeon rejected calls from Scots women affected by the scandal to have a separate inquiry. The campaign group PIP Implants Scotland said women north of the Border had to rely on a "half-hearted, closed-doors review" carried out by the UK Government.

The group had called for a full public inquiry, but Ms Sturgeon said it was a UK-wide issue and Scotland would benefit from any recommendations made.

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