Lifestyle & Belief

French government tells women to reverse bad boob jobs


A picture taken on April 10, 2011 shows employees of breast implant maker Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) demonstrating in front of their factory in southern France.


Anne-Christine Poujoulat

The French government is preparing to ask some 30,000 "surgically enhanced" women to give up their fake breasts.

The implants in question aren't just your average bad boob job; rather, as France 24 explained, they're potentially cancer-causing.

Investigators found that the implants, manufactured by French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), were made from low-grade silicon gel that medical authorities believe could be carcinogenic. They also carry a higher than normal risk of rupture within the body, the BBC said.

A total of nine cases of cancer have so far been reported in women who had the implants, prompting medical experts to talk of a "health crisis."

Dr Laurent Lantieri, a plastic surgeon and member of the special committee the French government has set up to deal with the issue, told Libération:

"We are faced with a health crisis that is linked to a scam. The whole profession is aware of it. It isn't urgent, but it is no longer optional. All the implants must be removed."

PIP implants, which were some of the cheapest available until they were taken off the market in 2010, are believed to have been widely used. Some 30,000 women were given them in France, and as many as 300,000 worldwide, according to Le Figaro.

More than 2,000 women who received the implants have filed complaints against PIP. The company went into administration last year and is currently under police investigation for involuntary homicide.

The French government is expected to announce its plan of action formally later this week.

If it decides the matter constitutes a health emergency, the state will cover the cost of surgery to remove the implants, government spokeswoman Valérie Pécresse told French TV. The government will not pay for the implants to be replaced, however, except in cases where the surgery was reconstructive rather than aesthetic.

The prospect of having to give up the implants and not being able to afford new ones is so unappealing to some women that they would rather keep their potentially life-threatening new breasts, Dr Dominique-Michel Courtois, who represents a PIP victim support group, told TF1 News:

"Many of these women saved up for years, took a bank loan, or borrowed money from friends and family for a very precise reason. They simply cannot bear to not get new implants."