Venezuela offers to pay for removal of faulty breast implants

August 01, 2017

An estimated 40,000 women in the country have breast enlargement surgery each year, said Dr. Marisol Graterol, president of the Venezuelan Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is an outspoken critic of the surgery's popularity, saying women shouldn't be sold on an image that big bosoms are attractive. The plastic surgery society recommended last week that women with PIP breast implants see a doctor to have them checked. Graterol said doctors should decide depending on each patient's situation whether or not the implants need to be removed. Sales of PIP implants were halted in Venezuela in April 2010, Graterol said.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Saud said he removed ruptured PIP implants from more than 10 patients during the past year. In some cases, his patients hadn't noticed anything wrong and the leaking implants were detected during imaging exams, he said. In other cases, ???they felt discomfort and had swelling.??? ???It used to be one of the most-used brands,??? Saud said. He said most of the women opted to replace the PIP implants with those of other brands.

Breast augmentation surgery is popular in Venezuela, where implants are sometimes given to girls as a 15th birthday present. More than 300,000 implants are believed to have been sold globally by PIP over the past 12 years in some 65 countries. More than half of its exports went to South America. In Brazil, some 25,000 women are believed to have had PIP implants. Western Europe was another major market. Spain, Italy, Germany and Ukraine are known to have imported PIP silicone implants.

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