Leeds: Rush for ops to swap PIP breast implants

SURGEON: Prof Philip Turton.
SURGEON: Prof Philip Turton.
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Worried women are queuing up to have their PIP breast implants removed in Leeds.

Up to 50 operations are scheduled to take place at Nuffield Hospital in the city to remove the controversial French-made implants. They were banned last year after they were found to contain non-medical grade silicone, while it is unclear whether they are more likely to rupture.

No hospitals in Leeds, including private facilities Nuffield and Spire, fitted women with PIP implants.

But the city’s private providers say they have been inundated with calls from patients concerned about the issue.

Last week the Yorkshire Evening Post reported on Methley mum Kate Ward’s decision to pay for her PIP implants to be taken out at the Leeds Nuffield Hospital as the private firm where she had her original surgery was refusing to replace PIP implants for free.

Now another 40 or 50 operations to remove PIP implants and replace them with another type are to take place at Nuffield Leeds over the coming months.

Spire Hospital said they had one similar surgery planned so far.

Philip Turton, breast oncoplastic and cosmetic surgeon for the NHS in Leeds, as well as at Nuffield and Spire hospitals, said the numbers had been going up since the issue was first publicised early last year.

“We expect it to be fairly exponential at this stage since it was non-medical grade silicone,” he said.

The surgery at Nuffield Leeds is on women who had their PIP implants put in at another Nuffield hospital – who will have the procedure done for free – and those whose operation was carried out by a different private provider who will not offer free replacement. These pay a reduced rate.

Mr Turton, who has found leakage when removing the implants, said: “We know for sure that there’s not a cancer risk, we know there’s no chance of poisoning, but that does not mean there are no concerns.”

He advised anyone with PIP implants to contact their original provider, or their GP if the firm is not offering help.

The NHS will pay for the removal and replacement of PIP implants it fitted, and removal only of those put in by a private hospital.

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