France tries to calm women over scandal-hit implants

Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:11am EST
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By Leigh Thomas

PARIS (Reuters) - France's health minister tried to calm women's fears over potentially dangerous breast implants on Tuesday, saying there was no medical need to remove them immediately.

The implants at the center of the global scandal were made by now-defunct French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) and appear to have an unusually high rupture rate.

The French government triggered a media frenzy on Friday after urging women to remove them. On Tuesday, Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said there was no rush after all.

"It's true this is not of an urgent nature. We recommend that the breast implants are removed to avoid a rupture," Bertrand told French radio RTL.

Some 300,000 PIP implants, used in cosmetic surgery or to replace lost breast tissue, have been sold worldwide.

While France has recommended that the implants be removed, other countries, including Britain and Brazil, say that women should first visit their surgeons for checks.

French authorities say there is no evidence of an increased cancer risk in the PIP implants compared to other brands.

Yet, French women support forums have been overflowing with news of the scare, with users comparing health conditions and complaining of fatigue and weakness. Some agonized over whether to remove their PIP implants.   Continued...