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U.K. health officials indicate that the silicone gel contained in Poly Implant Porthese (PIP) breast implants is not toxic to women, although the implants are prone to rupture.
PIP silicone gel implants were used during breast surgery for more than 400,000 women worldwide before the manufacturer went out of business in 2010.
A study published earlier this year found that PIP breast implants were likely to rupture in one-third of women that received them, increasing concerns surrounding the controversial implants, which contain industrial-grade silicone gel that is typically used in mattresses.
According to the findings of a final report issued by the National Health Services Medical Directors group on Monday, the silicone gel that may rupture from the implants is not toxic and does not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer for women.
While there have been calls in some countries to get the implants removed, the NHS study found no health concerns. However, a number of women who have had the implants rupture have reported tenderness and swollen lymph glands.
In the United States, a number of serious complications have already been linked to silicone breast implants, including implant rupture, wrinkling, asymmetrical appearance, scarring, pain and infection.
The FDA has called on manufacturers of silicone implants, including Johnson & Johnson and Allergan, to find ways to improve participation by women in post-marketing silicone breast implant studies so that there will be better data on the long-term effects of the implants.
The FDA has issued several warnings to consumers regarding silicone breast implant side effects. In January 2011, the FDA also warned that both silicone and saline breast implants may be linked to a form of cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). While it can form in the breasts, it is not considered breast cancer. No cases of ALCL were diagnosed among participants in the latest study.
Women who are considering receiving silicone gel-filled breast implants have been advised by federal health regulators that they should be aware that the implants are not lifetime devices and that the longer they have them, the more likely they are to suffer complications.