BAAPS Say New Breast Implant Scare is No Cause for Alarm
Following some recent reports in national newspapers that drew a link between Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (a very rare type of cancer) and textured breast implants, both BAPRAS (the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons) and BAAPS (the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) have addressed these concerns via their respective websites. Both associations agree that there is no due cause for alarm.
The statistics quoted in the media focus on 150 reported cases of Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma out of 15 million breast enlargement patients worldwide, and considering BAAPS members have performed almost 80,000 breast augmentations over the last ten years – none of which led to a case of ALCL being reported – the former president of BAAPS (Fazel Fatah) says the chances of such a tumour occurring “are extremely rare”.
BAAPS’ current president, Rajiv Grover, says each individual surgeon should evaluate which risks they should inform potential patients about, dependant on factors such as their age. As breast cancer affects 1 in 10 women on average, regardless of whether they’ve received implants or not, Mr. Grover says the risk of Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma “is infinitesimally small in comparison”.
Mr. Grover’s predecessor, Mr. Fazel, also gives some reassurance for women who have received textured shell breast implants, who may be concerned by the recent media reports. As well as pointing out the fact that ALCL tumours are extremely rare, he says the risk of death from this type of cancer is 1 in 2,000,000, and there is a cure available for 94% of affected patients. He adds that ALCL is a non-aggressive form of cancer which is slow to progress, meaning that the chances of recovery are good. However, despite the minimal risk of such a cancer occurring in patients, the Association has still ensured that all of its surgeons are aware of Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma and are prepared to take the necessary steps if the condition is suspected in a patient.
The final piece of advice to women who have received textured shell implants is that unless they suddenly detect “unexplained changes or swelling” in their breasts (which should be checked out by a doctor), there is “no need for concern”.
Orbix Medical Pioneers New Breast Enhancement Procedure
Israel-based Orbix Medical has recently been mentioned in an article on the UK Huffington Post site with regards to their latest medical invention. The new breast enlargement procedure claims to prevent the breasts from sagging post-surgery by supporting them with an “internal bra”, which is implanted under the skin.
Compared to existing breast augmentations, this alternative version is a great deal more invasive, despite the relatively-quick, predicted operation time (45 minutes). During the procedure, the surgeon inserts ‘silicone slings’ underneath the tissue of each breast, which are secured to the patient’s ribcage using titanium screws and silk straps.
Orbix Medical claim the procedure leaves minimal scarring and that the device cannot be seen through the skin. It also boasts that the new Breast Support System “eliminates breast re-sagging” post-surgery, and keeps the “shape and position of the breast and nipple years after the procedure”.
While the operation has been approved for use in the EU, it is still being reviewed in the US; in England, it is only currently available at one London hospital.
In early May 2014, one of the hospital’s surgeons performed the first three trials using the new device; however, many of his peers believe that more trials are necessary to determine whether the new-age procedure is a viable alternative to more traditional types of surgery.
One member of the London Breast Institute told the Daily Mail that as well as more clinical trials, there will need to be sufficient follow-ups to prove the procedure actually delivers the results that Orbix Medical claim, that the internal bra doesn’t adversely affect the shape of the breast in years to come, and that the silicone slings are safe in the long-term. Professor Mokbel adds that the fixing of silk straps to the ribcage may have potential side-effects for the patient, as common silicone implants are placed behind the natural breast to minimise the risk of post-surgical issues.
If you would like to find out more about traditional and more common types of breast surgery, including enlargements, uplifts, and reductions, please visit the Safer Cosmetic Surgery website or click here.
Teens with Low Self-Esteem Prompt Warning from BAAPS
In an age where teenagers (and even toddlers) are put under immense pressure to conform to society’s ever-changing perceptions of beauty, many medical professionals are concerned that vulnerable youngsters with low self-esteem are being driven to cosmetic surgery in a bid to overcome their body issues.
Members of BAAPS (The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) in particular have warned of the recent increase in cosmetic surgery procedures, stating that the Association’s surgeons performed over 50,000 procedures in 2013 – a noticeable 17% more than in 2012. While BAAPS has not broken down last year’s statistics by age group, Michael Cadier (the President Elect of the Association) says that more young people are approaching surgeons to request surgical procedures.
Mr. Cadier is concerned that many of these young people are “still immature and vulnerable” and are considering operations that are “too big” with “too many potential life-long implications”, instead of potentially exploring “other avenues” first.
At the same time that BAAPS spoke out about their concerns regarding vulnerable teens, BBC’s Newsbeat undertook an online survey of its readers. Those who completed the questionnaire ranged in age from 15 to 62, and 310 people submitted the survey in total. Of these 310, 64 admitted to having previously undergone a cosmetic surgery procedure - the most common type being breast implants, followed by dermal fillers and rhinoplasty (nose jobs). The majority of these people said they were happy with the results.
Of the 246 who had not undergone a procedure, 145 said they would consider doing so in future, including an 18-year-old female from Southampton. In her survey, she stated she wants breast enhancements, having suffered from low self-esteem since the age of 11. She added that there’s “almost an expectation of women to be attractive”, which adds to the feeling of not being “good enough”. Even more worrying is the fact that the young woman’s therapist has suggested she consider plastic surgery alongside counselling to help overcome her self-esteem issues.
A psychologist commissioned by BBC Newsbeatwarns that many of us seeking to change our bodies with surgery think we “will feel happier” as a result. However, she warns that “the results consistently show that’s not true”.
SaferCosmeticSurgery consultants would recommend that cosmetic surgery should not be considered by teens in the first instance, instead counselling for low-esteem should be sought. As a mature adult however, if you are still unhappy with a particular physical feature, please contact us to discuss how we can help.
Yorkshire GP Tackles Cosmetic Surgery Regulation Grey Areas
An East Yorkshire GP has decided to tackle the “grey areas” in the cosmetic surgery industry by helping to open a new ‘health hub’ in Welton. Dr. Paul Charlson runs a GP’s surgery in Brough, and is due to become the president of BCAM (the British College of Aesthetic Medicine) later this summer.
Speaking to the Hull Daily Mail in late April 2014, Dr. Charlson voiced his concerns about the current lack of rules and regulations regarding who can perform cosmetic surgery procedures, where, and how, and said “the whole industry is rife with [grey areas]”.
The doctor says that many people “go around performing procedures in places they shouldn’t be”, and referred to an example of a nurse he’d heard of who had attended a house party in Leeds. As the female party-goers were enjoying themselves and drinking champagne, the nurse applied dermal fillers to their faces. Dr. Charlson points out that the recipients of the fillers had been drinking, and were therefore not in a fit state to undergo this type of procedure. Plus, dermal fillers should not be applied “outside of a clinical setting” as the environment is not sterile.
While the East Yorkshire GP says the majority of people who perform cosmetic procedures outside of an approved environment “get away with it and nothing bad will happen”, he warns that facial fillers and other similar procedures are akin to “ticking time bombs” where things can go wrong at a later date.
Dr. Charlson plans to set up a new training academy at the Welton health hub, where he aims to share new techniques he’ll be learning via his new role at the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.
The academy will operate in a similar way to one that Dr. Charlson already helps to run in Brough, where patients are given professional advice about skincare and dermatological procedures prior to undergoing any treatment. The doctor says that the majority of his patients don’t want the “Barbie doll look” and are seeking a ‘subtle’, ‘conservative” look that doesn’t look like they’ve “had any work done”.
BAPRAS Responds to Independent Medical Devices Review
After an independent review on independent medical devices was recently published by Professor Terence Stephenson and his peers, BAPRAS (the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons) have responded via their website to add their stamp of approval to the review’s findings.
Professor Stephenson is the Vice-Chair of the Institute of Child Health at University College London, and was tasked by the MHRA (an executive agency of the Department of Health that regulates all medicines and medical devices in the UK) in the summer of 2013 with helping make recommendations about how the MHRA can improve its access to clinic advice, and improve its engagement with the clinical community in relation to medical devices.
There are several recommendations within the Professor’s report that BAPRAS is particularly in favour of. One such example is the recommendation that patient records be used to track what medical devices have been given to them. Since the PIP breast implant scandal, BAPRAS has been pushing for a compulsory register for medical devices, and is already helping to pilot a UK database with help from an NHS and MHRA-funded research service. However, it’s not only breast implants that the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons are concerned about; with the rise in the number of patients experiencing issues as a result of receiving dermal fillers (such as Botox) from unqualified and/or untrained persons, the Association believes cosmetic dermal fillers also qualify as medical devices and should, therefore, be included in the medical devices register.
Another recommendation the Association stands behind is that the MHRA should make information more readily and widely available regarding the safety and effectiveness of medical devices, so that surgeons are better-equipped to recommend an appropriate device for their patients – which some might say could have helped reduce the number of women affected by faulty PIP implants. BAPRAS also back the recommendation that the MHRA should help to set best practice across Europe, and treat devices as seriously as medicines, aided by a new advisory committee of which the Association is keen to be a part of.
Harley Medical Group Falls Foul of Hackers
It’s not just individuals who can end up falling foul of internet hackers – it happens to companies too – and there’s nothing worse than worrying that your personal details may have been accessed by an unauthorised and unscrupulous person.
The other week, the Harley Medical Group was reportedly targeted by cyber criminals, leading the company to write to its customers and warn them that nearly 500,000 potential clients may have had their personal records accessed. According to an article in The Telegraph, around 480,000 personal records were lifted from Harley’s website enquiry form facility, which is used by prospective patients to contact the company with enquiries about cosmetic surgery. The stolen data included the names, home addresses, email addresses, contact numbers, and dates of birth of the clients, along with information detailing what type of procedure they were enquiring about.
HMG told customers that there was no breach of financial or clinical data, and reassured them that both the police and the Information Commissioner’s Office had been made aware of the security breach as soon as the hacking attempt came to light. HMG’s chairman, Peter Boddy, says that the company has now taken steps to improve the security of their website, although a security expert referred to by The Telegraph believes the breach was only possible because of the Group’s “sloppy security”, and accused it of failing to protect its customers’ data.
The hacking scandal is the latest drama to affect the Harley Medical Group, which has also come under fire in the national press in recent months for deliberately going into administration and subsequently reopening to avoid paying compensation to PIP implant victims. The company was previously known as the Harley Medical Centre, which operated dozens of clinics around the UK. In 2012, HMC declared bankruptcy, claiming that the high risk of legal action from PIP patients was likely to put it out of business. However, just days later, the company re-opened its clinics under a new name.
New regulations being introduced by the Department of Health should prevent this type of scenario occurring in future, as all senior management and directors will be subjected to a “fit and proper person test’ before being granted a licence.
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