'Women will feel relieved' - plastic surgeon on PIP breast implant ruling

Norwich plastic surgeon Elaine Sassoon

Elaine Sassoon, a plastic surgeon from Norwich, who has treated women affected by the PIP breast implant scandal. - Credit: Elaine Sassoon

A Norwich plastic surgeon who has treated women affected by the PIP breast implant scandal has shared how those affected will feel relieved after a court ruled thousands of victims should receive compensation.

The ruling was made on Thursday at an appeal court in Paris for 2,700 victims, and could have far-reaching implications for thousands of other victims.

French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), which went out of business in 2010 after an investigation found the implants were filled with cheap, industrial-grade silicone which was not suitable for use in humans. 

Silicone breast implant

A number of Norfolk women were affected by the PIP scandal. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The ruling might not be final and could go to another higher court but victims have shared their delight at the ruling, with the amount of compensation yet to be determined.

Elaine Sassoon, a plastic surgeon at Spire Hospital, said she had seen a number of women over the years who had PIP implants, some who had not had any long term symptoms or ruptures. 

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She recalled the day the scandal was discovered and the efforts to assure women no PIP implants procedures took place at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital or Spire and that affected patients had implants inserted elsewhere. 

She said: "The phones were just going mad as people were very worried.

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"The plastic surgeons in Norwich working both at the NNUH and Spire had always refused to use any low quality medical grade implants so never used the PIP implants. 

"For everyone involved, they will feel relieved. Some people got some compensation in 2017 but they lived in fear they would have to give the money back.

"The regulations in Europe have tightened to take surveillance and not just accept because it works once it will work forever, they will do repeat checks. That is reassuring."

Elaine Sassoon removing a PIP breast implant. 

Elaine Sassoon removing a PIP breast implant. - Credit: Elaine Sassoon

She said women considering breast surgery should never feel they are being pressured into a procedure and should meet with the surgeon at least twice and leave at least two weeks before the procedure.

The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (Bapras) also has an implant registry that if problems occurred action could be taken quickly.

About 400,000 PIP implants were sold worldwide, more than 40,000 of them in the UK.

Olivier Aumaitre, who represented the women, said: "We are delighted with this outcome which definitively puts an end to the doubts about TUV’s responsibility.

“The German certifier will have to fully compensate the victims.”

The court also upheld an earlier judgement which found German company TUV Rheiland negligent for awarding safety certificates for the faulty implants.

TUV Lawyer Christelle Coslin said: "TUV Rheinland denies all responsibility. The missing link here is the actual liable party."

If you have been affected by the scandal, please contact clarissa.place@archant.co.uk 

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