Health funds will replace leaking breast implants

Health Ministry officially recommends that women with French-made PIP breast implants replace them if they leaked.

Silicone breast implants 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)
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 or approval.
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.