Silicone breast implants 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)
The Health Ministry has officially decided to recommend to women who underwent
breast augmentation with French-made PIP implants at a number of private
hospitals to replace them if they leaked.
The ministry, following
consultation with local and foreign experts, said on Monday that in an exception
to the rule regarding esthetic surgery, the health funds will pay for the
surgery, but women would have to purchase safe replacement implants themselves.
Only between seven and 15 Israeli women are believed by the ministry to have
leaking PIP implants.
The ministry said 100,000 women around the world
had the Poly Implant Prothese low-quality implants inserted, including about 870
Israeli women since 2003. According to authorities abroad, the potentially
inferior and risky models of implants, which were reportedly filled with gel
derived from fuel, tended to leak more than average, about 10 percent in the
first year. Thus leakage could result in cancer.
After eight cases of
cancer – adenocarcinoma, leukemia and lymphoma – were reported among the 100,000
women, the French authorities ordered the cessation of the implants’ use in
2010. A number of European countries where the implants had been used decided
against removing the PIP implants unless they had been found to leak. Yet the
French company was closed down.
The implants’ use were approved by the
Health Ministry only until 2010, but after the French announcement was made,
their import was prohibited.
But surgeons in the private hospitals
continued to use implants they had in storage without the ministry’s knowledge
The ministry, in an official notification by outgoing
medical administration head Dr. Chezy Levy, said the private hospitals/clinics
were Synopsis, Nara, Atidim, Raphael in Ramat Gan, Teomim Clinit, Sanitas, Ramat
Aviv Medical Center, Ariel Clinic and the Netanya Esthetic Center. They are
being investigated by the ministry, it said. The PIP implants were never used in
public hospitals, the ministry said.
As the PIP implants are not
approved, the ministry insisted that all women who had them implanted be found
and checked by ultrasound scan for leakage. If found to leak the private
hospitals/ clinics will recommend their removal and replacement in the same
operation (women who fear having new implants of approved types could
conceivably refuse to have another implant). Women who do not remember the type
of implant but whose own are leaking may undergo the surgery and replacement as
well at public expense (except for purchasing new implants). The same rule
covers women whose PIP implants have not leaked.