Health: Nearly one-third of breast implants pose problems – Switzerland

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Thousands of women have a breast implant every year in Switzerland. The youngest of them are under 20 years old. Many are unaware of the risks they are taking.

In the United States, the debate is raging. An Allergan implant is suspected of causing a rare form of cancer (ALCL). Patients have already started a class action lawsuit. Switzerland also has four cases. Europe, about 300. On social networks, more and more women are complaining about the dangers of these prostheses and the lack of information given by manufacturers.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA), the US authority for the surveillance of therapeutic products, has reacted about these implants. She heard experts and complainants. Then, two weeks ago, the federal agency informed the public. The message concerns manufacturers, who must now improve their communication: the indication of risks must be more complete on the package insert. On the other hand, patients and professionals have a check-list on the risks of breast implants, which can be consulted before each operation.

The FDA has established this list of risks. On the basis of the studies to be carried out by the manufacturers, it has individualized the most important and frequent problems. One out of two patients experiences pain after the procedure. Depending on the implant, a third is torn or pierced. In 59% of the cases analyzed, the patient must undergo a second surgery.

We showed these figures to Cedric George, plastic surgeon and head of the Pyramide am See Clinic in Zurich. According to him, these data are correct. They include all implants, including older ones. The new ones also present problems, but in 20 to 30% of the cases. This means that one in five patients must return to the operating room.

Despite this reality of numbers, manufacturers and some cosmetic surgeons still promise a lifetime guarantee on certain implants. The implants are reliable, but the body of the patient evolves over time, says Cedric George. This aging can cause the need for a new intervention. "If you do not want to have any problems with an implant, you should not have any at all," he adds. In the last two years Swissmedic, the Swiss medical authority, has received 126 reports of serious problems with breast implants.

Memory problems

Nathalie D. confirms. If she had been aware of the risks, she would never have accepted a mammoplasty. This mother in Lausanne is 48 years old. Sixteen years ago, she underwent an operation to increase the volume of her chest. "The surgeon told me that the implant was new to the market and it would last a lifetime." The result is satisfactory, although his new chest sometimes seems artificial. "In my clothes, the shape was beautiful."

The first complications appear ten years after the operation. Nathalie D. gets sick. "The symptoms were not specific. I did not immediately link with my implants, "she says. She has pain in the joints, muscles, neck and head. She also has nausea. His memory is lacking. "I could not find my words and it was hard for me to concentrate on my work."

Implants Files will change everything. A year ago, the world's media, including Tamedia's investigation unit, unveiled unsuspected medical errors. The file of defective breast implants is bulky.


Read also: Folder: Implant Files


Victims then organize themselves on social networks. In the United States, a Facebook group brings together 100,000 people. In Europe, the RisikenvonBrustimplantaten group is created by Germany's Melanie FrOhlich.

Nathalie D. becomes aware, thanks to Implant Files, that her chronic diseases are related to her implants. "When I read the testimonials of these women on social networks, I realized that I had the same symptoms." She then made the decision to remove her prosthesis. Since then, a lot of pain has disappeared.

The Lausannoise is pleased with the measures taken by the FDA. Today, she suffers the consequences of this lack of information and prevention. "My breasts are not very beautiful anymore. They are small, have scars. My left breast is distorted. "It will be operated again in three weeks. But she does not regret her choice to have her implants removed. "I feel a lot better since then."

A personal choice

There is still a lot of work to be done in Switzerland to empower professionals and patients of cosmetic surgery. We found a private clinic that offers discounts to patients who accumulate cosmetic surgery on the same day. This establishment in the canton of Lucerne offers a reduction of 2000 francs.

This discount does not pose any problem for the Lucerne authorities. The Cantonal Health and Sport Service explains that cosmetic surgery is a matter of personal choice. There is nothing medically obligatory. In this case, the patient is considered to be responsible and must inquire about the potential risks of cosmetic surgery. It is not up to the state to assume this duty of prevention.

Cedric George is more nuanced. According to the Zurich surgeon, these risks must be taken very seriously and discussed in public. But we must not demonize anything. "Breast implants make a lot of people happy, because they feel better about their bodies." In addition, the links between an implant and cancer are not obvious. "It is extremely difficult to prove the causal link," he concludes.

Despite this, manufacturers and some cosmetic surgeons promise a lifetime warranty on certain implants. But the body of the patient evolves over time, says Cedric Georges, which may cause the need for a new intervention. "If you do not want to have any problems with an implant, you should not have any," he adds. In the last two years Swissmedic, the Swiss medical authority, has received 126 reports of serious problems with breast implants.

Nathalie D. confirms. If she had been aware of the risks, she would never accept a mammoplasty. This mother in Lausanne is 48 years old. 16 years ago, she accepts the operation to increase the volume of her chest. "The surgeon told me that the implant was new to the market and that it would last a lifetime." The result is satisfactory, his new chest sometimes seems artificial. "But in my clothes, the shape was beautiful" .

Ten years after the operation, she knows the first complications. She gets sick. "The symptoms were not specific. I did not get the link with the implants right away, "she says, the symptoms are pain in the joints, muscles, neck and head, and she also has nausea. irritate and forget his memory: "I could not find the words and it was hard for me to concentrate on my work."

Implants files will change everything. A year ago, media around the world, including Tamedia's cell investigation, reveals medical errors. The file of defective breast implants is bulky. Concerned women organize themselves on social networks. In the United States, a Facebook group gathers 100,000 victims. In Europe, the group "Risks of Breast Implants" is created by the German Melanie FrOhlich.

Nathalie D. becomes aware, thanks to implant files that her chronic diseases are related to her implant. She suspected it, but refused to admit it. "When I read the testimonials of these women on social networks, I understood that I had the same symptoms." She then made the decision to remove her prosthesis Since then, some pain, not all, have disappeared.

Melanie FrOhlich and Nathalie D. approve new measures taken by the FDA.

Both women are delighted with the action taken by the US Food and Drug Administration. "The warning and the checklist are a giant leap," says FrOhlich, "it's mainly thanks to the women who have been working in their free time for years."

Thousands of women have a breast implant every year in Switzerland. The youngest of them are under the age of 20. Many are unaware of the risks they are taking.

In the United States, the debate is raging. An Allergan implant is suspected of causing a rare form of cancer (ALCL). Patients have already taken a collective action in court. Switzerland also has four cases. Europe, about 300. On social networks, more and more women are complaining about the dangers of these prostheses and the lack of information given by manufacturers.

In the United States, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), the supervisory authority for therapeutic products, has reacted. She heard experts and complainants. Then, two weeks ago, the federal agency contacted the manufacturers. They must now improve their communication. The indication of the risks must be more complete on the package insert. And patients need to be better informed before the operation.

The FDA has listed the most important risks based on the studies that the manufacturers must carry out. One out of two patients experiences pain after the operation. Depending on the implant, one-third of the implants tear or run. In 59% of cases, the patient has to undergo a second surgery.

We showed these figures to Cedric George, cosmetic surgeon and head of the clinic "Pyramide am See" in Zurich. According to him, these figures are high. He notes that not only old implants are involved. More recent models also present problems in 30 percent of the cases: this means that one in five patients must return to the operating room.

Despite this, manufacturers and some cosmetic surgeons promise a lifetime warranty on certain implants. But the body of the patient evolves over time, says Cedric Georges, which may cause the need for a new intervention. "If you do not want to have any problems with an implant, you should not have any," he adds. In the last two years Swissmedic, the Swiss medical authority, has received 126 reports of serious problems with breast implants.

Created: 09.11.2019, 10:58



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https://www.24heures.ch/suisse/tiers-implants-mammaires-posent-probleme/story/15153545

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