Breast implant register launched to help deal with product safety concerns
A new breast implant register has been launched so patients can be tracked if products turn out to be faulty.
The register will record the details of every person who has breast implant surgery in case of a product recall or another safety concern. Over time, other sorts of cosmetic implants - such as for buttocks - will be added to it.
It comes after a global breast implant scandal emerged in 2010. Almost 50,000 women in the UK and 400,000 worldwide discovered they had received faulty silicone gel implants.
A UK government-ordered report in June 2012 found the implants were made from an unauthorised silicone filler and ruptured at twice the rate of other implants.
The boss of the French company which distributed the defective breast implants was sentenced to four years in prison for fraud.
The new register will be managed by NHS Digital.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "We want the NHS to be the safest healthcare system in the world and anyone who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure has the right to safe care.
"The PIP breast implant scandal in 2010 affected thousands of people which is why we asked NHS Digital to develop a new register which will allow people to be traced swiftly if that is ever needed."
Clinics are expected to record more than 20,000 cases of implant surgery every year. Patients must give their consent for their details to be held on the register.
A joint statement from the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, the Association of Breast Surgery and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: "We have long championed the need for a compulsory register for breast implants.
"This will protect patients by providing a way to actively monitor all implants, track and trace their use and provide data for further research, which may be used to further technological advances.
"We hope that all patients will consent to the submission of data on their behalf."