Some clinics are sending patients with complications arising from their ruptured PIP implants to the NHS for treatment. They claim that they do not have the ‘necessary skills’ to treat these problems. President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), Fazel Fatah is concerned that sending patients to the NHS for further surgery could be a ploy by private clinics to save themselves money.
On 16 February the BAAPS issued a statement on their website(www.baaps.org.uk) saying that any trained and qualified plastic surgeon would be able to efficiently address the repercussions of rupture.
According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Fazel Fatah one of the known risks from ruptured PIP implants is “an inflammatory response in the tissues” resulting from exposure to the industrial grade silicone. The symptoms include swellings and lumps in the breast, lymph nodes and general chest area. Lumps that form in and around the breasts are called “granulomas” and may need to be surgically removed if they are particularly large. Swollen lymph glands may also require surgical removal if they become large and painful.
Fazel goes on to say that, “Any qualified plastic surgeon can easily address these issues, make the appropriate decisions and manage arrangements for investigation in an effective manner – it is part of standard training.” He notes that one hand it is “ostensibly reassuring” that surgeons who lack the appropriate levels of training and experience have not adopted a “have a go” attitude towards performing these “complex procedures”, but on other hand is does raise troubling questions about the skill set of those surgeons performing the implant replacement operations.
Former BAAPS President and consultant plastic surgeon Nigel Mercer adds that he has recently seen a number of women with lumps in their armpits. In one case “the surgeon directly admitted to her not having the skills to remove them” and in another case the clinic told the patient that “their surgeons weren't competent enough to perform the procedure.”
Mr Mercer to concludes that “Either these clinics' practitioners aren’t qualified plastic surgeons as is generally claimed on their websites” or “they don’t want to bear the costs of caring for their own patients.” While the former option is “alarming” to say the least, the latter is completely unacceptable.
Partner Samantha Robson, who heads up the PIP team at Slee Blackwell Solicitors, says, “The BAAPS is based at the Royal College of Surgeons and is a not-for-profit organization established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit. Members undergo thorough background screening before they can join. For them to so publicly criticise the private clinics is another nail in the coffin for our private beauty industry. The one positive consequence of the PIP’s scandal is that this hugely profitable industry is now having to undergo more rigorous regulation to prevent these disasters occurring in the future.”
Should you wish to seek free and independent legal advice on your PIP claim please contact us.