The PIP (Poly Implant Prothèse), a type of breast implants, were manufactured by a French company for approximately 20 years (1991 through 2010). The company was liquidated in 2010. Approximately 2 million pairs of silicone PIP breast implants were manufactured. The silicone PIP implants were exported to Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Spain, and Italy. The PIP breast implants were reportedly implanted in approximately 300,000 women in 65 countries.

Why post a blog on the PIP breast implants that have been “off the market” for nearly a decade? Because there are still many women that have silicone breast implants and are unaware of the issues related to them, and we continue to see patients in our practice that have silicone breast implants. Some of our breast augmentation patients are unaware that they had PIP implants placed, and some of our patients are aware they had PIP breast implants placed but are unaware of the “recall status.” Part of the reason for the lack of awareness is in many circumstances the PIP implants were placed in one location (Europe or South America), and the patient subsequently relocated (United States) to a locale distant from their surgeon. As a result, continuity of care is frequently lost, and communications between the plastic surgeon and patient is compromised.

The French government recommended that the PIP breast implants be removed (approximately 30,000 patients) in 2011. Some other government health agencies have recommended observation and close surveillance. Among the reasons for PIP breast implant “recall” are use of non-medical grade silicone and a (relatively) high rupture rate. According to one lay report, two different tiered silicone formulae were used in the manufacture of silicone PIP breast implants. One was a “high end” version for more affluent patients, and the other was a “lower end” version for less affluent patients. Because industrial grade silicone was used in the manufacture of silicone PIP breast implants, it is not inconceivable that “contaminants” were present in the silicone.

If you are uncertain if you have PIP implants or would like to discuss revision or replacement of your breast implants, please reach out to our medical team to schedule a consultation.