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Posted Fri 30 November 2018


Widespread reporting of the cancer risk associated with textured breast implants is a positive thing. I have seen many women during my career as a plastic surgeon driven to breast enlargement due to a single-minded pursuit of a certain aesthetic, but with very little regard for the serious implications of surgery or the potential consequences. While the risk of breast implant associated lymphoma is very small, it is a real one and should be taken very seriously by patients, surgeons and the industry as a whole.

In terms of whether the industry should stop the use of textured silicone implants, there are also risks and more common complications associated with using smooth alternatives. With smooth implants we see capsular contracture far more frequently which can cause implants to distort, harden and result in visible breast asymmetry and pain. Because of this they carry a much higher likelihood of the need for repeat surgery.

The risks and complications of both implants should be explained clearly to patients at the point of consultation. There have also been other suggestions as to whether regular MRI screening of women who do choose textured versions should be advocated.

However, there also needs to be a complete overhaul in consumers’ mentality generally. Plastic surgery advertising and social media stories which present superficial, glossy images of post-surgery ‘dreams’ need to be readdressed. Plastic surgery is surgery, it is highly invasive and there can be serious consequences associated with it.

I think the attitude of my breast cancer patients, who have been forced to undergo breast surgery, says it all. Most would never support any form of non-essential surgery.

Victoria Rose (MBBS FRCS) is one of the UK’s leading plastic surgeons with a specialism in breast reconstruction following cancer (including complex cases and microsurgical cases). Victoria works as Consultant Plastic Surgeon at DRG Plastic Surgery in Harley Street London: with Consultant Plastic Surgeon David Gateley and within two of London’s NHS hospital trusts.