As panic grips Europe in the wake of the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) breast implant scandal, growing numbers of women are choosing to have these faulty and potentially toxic implants removed. PIP implants were manufactured with industrial silicone and have a higher than acceptable rate of rupture. As many as 300,000 women in 65 countries may have these breast implants.

Some women may seek explanation in the US even though the implants were never approved for sale here. Grant Stevens, MD, recently performed his first PIP silicone gel explantation on a 23-year old woman who had them surgically implanted in Columbia 6 years ago. Dr. Stevens is the medical director of Marina Plastic Surgery Associates in Marina del Rey, California.

Technically, the explanation procedure was straightforward as the implants were intact. “If the gels are ruptured, you would want to do a total and complete capsulectomy and remove all of the contaminated gel within the capsule,” he told Plastic Surgery Practice.

“My patient heard the news about the PIP implant recall and had saved the serial number and information about her implants so we were easily able to match the product which required immediate removal,” said Dr. Stevens. He is not surprised by the recent turn of events. Dr.

Stevens had warned that PIP implants had documented problems as early as 2005. He authored a second paper in 2006 that showed cosmetic deformity and deflation of the PIP implants.

“PIP company officials asked me not to report these studies, so this recent news of corporate corruption and contaminated silicone, with a possible increased risk of cancer does not surprise me at all,” Dr. Stevens said in a press release. He added that in addition to the risk of rupture and the poor grade of non medical silicone used in the PIP implants, another risk of a high rate of platinum used in heat curing of nonmedical implants can be toxic.

Dr. Stevens recommends that women who received PIP implants in foreign countries have them removed immediately.