14,000 Colombian women may have dangerous breast implants

More than 14,000 Colombian women may have breast implants that have been banned internationally due to their risk of causing cancer, reports Radio Caracol.

The French brand of Poly Implants Protheses (PIP) breast implants were imported to Colombia from France by the Cali-based company Colombian International Medical.

According to Colombia’s National Institute of Food and Drug Administration (INVIMA), almost 25,000 PIP implants were imported into Colombia over a three year period from 2008.

Responding to an international alert regarding the quality of the implants in March 2010, the French health directorate issued a statement on 7 October 2010 confirming a flaw in the product’s quality, and calling for all women with PIP implants to have them removed.

Colombia’s INVIMA followed suite, issuing health warnings in April and October 2010, and calling for the withdrawal of the implants from the market in late 2010.

INVIMA figures indicate that approximately 10,000 unused implants were successfully withdrawn, which means that up to 14,858 women in Colombia who had already been operated on might currently be carrying PIP implants.

The primary risks relate to the implants rupturing, thought to be the result of the gel composition failing to stay within authorized limits. In particular, the biocompatibility of the gel does not meet quality standards and exceeds established limits.

Director of INVIMA Elkin Otalvaro advises Colombian women with PIP implants to report any unusual symptoms to their doctor, and seek treatment based on their advice.

Women are asked to look out for “persistent discharge, retraction of the skin, any mass felt around the implant” and to take action immediately in such cases, as symptoms “could develop into cancer, and in such cases it would be necessary to remove the implants”.

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