News Silicone gel breast implants: the arguments continue

Silicone breast implants still available in UK

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 23 October 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:947
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    Silicone gel breast implants have never been banned in the United Kingdom as they have in the United States. A series of UK government reviews, the last in 1998, cleared them of causing ill health.

    After the withdrawal in 2000 of implants filled with soya oil, silicone gel implants and saline filled implants are now the only types of implant available in the United Kingdom.

    According to the 1998 report of the independent review group on silicone gel breast implants, set up by the chief medical officer, these implants carry no increased risk of connective tissue disease or of an abnormal inflammatory response.

    The report said chronic low grade infection could be responsible for some of the non-specific symptoms such as fatigue and muscle weakness, which could occur with any type of implant, but silicone itself was not poisonous.

    A US class action over silicone gel implants led to a worldwide settlement in which UK women took part. In addition, a few individual claims over allegedly faulty silicone implants have been brought in the English courts.

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