Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The breast implant scare, but is it time to look at the bigger picture?

In the past few weeks there have been numerous reports in the news about PIP breast implants which are apparently faulty and at risk of rupture.

Many countries have recommended the implants be removed from all women as a precautionary measure, but there is controversy in the UK over who should pay.

Some say that it should be the NHS, some say that it should be the clinics that fitted the implants. Today one of the biggest private clinics responsible for fitting these implants have come out and said that they will not pay to replace the implants and that it should be down to the NHS to foot the bill.

While I can in fact sympathize with any company who is suddenly expected to cover the cost of replacing the implants, the fact is that if you bought a product from any shop and that product was then essentially recalled due to a fault, you could return it to the shop for a replacement.

Of course, in most instances the shop would be able to replace your item, and reclaim the cost from the manufacturer. However in this instance the manufacturer has apparently gone into administration and the owner appears to have disappeared in a puff of silicon...

The fact this has happened is not the fault of the individuals who have paid their money. In truth, it’s not the fault of the clinics who inserted the implants either, but they took the money to begin with, now that the implants have been found to be faulty, it should be the clinics who did the fitting who should also remove the implants. I certainly don’t think that the financial responsibility should fall to the NHS, so essentially the taxpayer, to put right surgery that women chose to have for purely cosmetic reasons.

It obviously goes without saying that women who had these implants for medical reasons should have them removed and replaced on the NHS, since they will have been inserted on the NHS in the first place, and the reasons for them being there are reasons of necessity.

However, I think there is a bigger picture here which should be addressed, and that is the issue of why people feel the need to have these implants, or any other type of cosmetic surgery for that matter, in the first place.

The fact is that leaking breast implants are not a new phenomenon - leaking silicone implants have been in the news for years (although less so recently). And yet the number of women having them fitted is on the increase.

Other cosmetic procedures have also been in the news over the years, in fact anti aging injections were in the news last week due to fears about damage they could cause. And yet people will continue to have them, probably in increasing numbers.

How is it that physical appearance has become so important to so many women that they are prepared to take risks with their health to change it?

How did it become acceptable and even normal practice to have bits of plastic filled with toxic fluid sewn into your breasts to make them bigger? Going through surgery, which is not without its own risks, risking future rupture and the potential long-term health implications if that happens.

How did it become seen as acceptable and even normal practice to have chemicals injected under your skin, sometimes on a regular basis, sometimes with permanent results , and all the potential complications that might lead to if it goes wrong, just to try to beat the signs of aging?

And that’s before we get to other cosmetic procedures, face lifts, tummy tucks etc.

How have we developed into a society where so many people appear to be so dissatisfied with their appearance that they are prepared to go to such radical lengths to change it?

I know what some will say, that people who undergo cosmetic surgery often have deep psychological issues with their appearance and as such we should never judge. But if that is the case, shouldn’t we start to ask why? Shouldn’t we start to ask how it is that society would rather accept a culture of enhancing or changing your body surgically, than addressing the reasons why people feel the need to do this in the first place?


  1. Cosmetic Surgery Industry has been a billion industry since the opening of millennium. Thus, THis idea of using substandard material to cut cost and increase profit margin is unethical since these could possibly lead to fatal condition.

  2. Breast reduction surgery is not harmful as other may think. Women decide do this surgery, because they know it can change them. So we can't do judgment to them.

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