Select Committee on Health Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Chris Squires (B 7)

  I am a casualty of Silicone Gel Implants who was told that her implants would last a lifetime. I had implants in place for 21 years. Approximately five years later my implants slowly began to harden. I had no idea at that time what this meant, as my surgeon had never explained this to me. I now know it is called "Capsular Contracture". When women find this happening to them, upon visiting their plastic surgeon, are informed that this only happens to a small percentage of people.

  During the time that I had my implants I went though a procedure called "Closed Capsulotomy", which helps soften the breast. This is done by the surgeon crushing the breast with the Implant between their hands, which is very painful and can often result in the implant rupturing and accelerating other problems. The last time I had this procedure was twice in 1992.

  It was some time after that I began to experience different health problems and became increasingly ill. On the advice of my plastic surgeon, I had an ultrasound scan and a mammogram. This was carried out in 1995 but did not show any rupture. At that time I did not know the full implications of a rupture. My health problems were:

  chronic fatigue, muscle aches and pains, stiff joints, headaches and cold pains in head, bowel problems, short-term memory loss and numbness or pins and needles in hands and feet.

  I finally had my implants removed in 1996 and they were found to be ruptured. I reported my rupture and health problems to the M.D.A. and have written numerous letters, but they never responded.

  I recently had a mammogram at my local hospital. The radiographer told me that she sees many women with implants. She said that she was afraid to put pressure on implants in case they were to rupture.

  I asked if all women were questioned as to the age of their implants and she replied, "no". She had also become aware of the fact that women not been properly informed about the implications of having a mammogram once they have silicone implants. Women get very angry and upset when they are told that most of their breast tissue is blocked by the implant, therefore not giving a good mammogram. I ask you, what is the use of a mammogram when you have implants when clearly it is a waste of time?

  There is no compulsory register for breast implant people; therefore long term problems go unreported. Apparently there is a voluntary register, but what good is that when nobody enforces them, especially the plastic surgeons who do not wish to face up to the fact that they may have harmed women by putting these implants into women's bodies? Therefore how does the IRG propose to study our health problems?

  (see enclosed letters number 2) [2]

  As I belong to "Action Against Silicone Gel UK" my name and telephone number has been put forward as a contact number for ladies who wish to speak to someone who will listen to their concerns and worries. There are various problems that they encounter, for example, to get their GP's to listen and believe that they are ill, in the first place. They then enter into a vicious circle of visiting different doctors and having lots of tests and being informed that there is nothing wrong.

  Doctors' attitudes to women leave a lot to be desired. The appalling attitude of many doctors who after various tests to establish and pin point the health problem and find nothing specific, then begin to label women as "neurotic", making statements like "it's all in your head"! These doctors need to be educated about Silicone Implants. (see enclosed letter number 1)[3]

  To think that this doctor who I only saw for approximately ten minutes could make such a ridiculous diagnosis.

  It made me so angry to think that this man does not know me, but had the audacity to write such nonsense, I'm disgusted.

  How many women will this doctor see? When he cannot make a proper diagnosis will he label them as having psychological problems and needing antidepressants! (GOD PROTECT US FROM THESE PEOPLE).

  Women are finding it increasingly difficult to get their silicone implants removed on the NHS, to get them removed safely along with the capsules. This has happened since the IRG report stating that there is no scientific evidence that Silicone causes ill health. (see enclosed letter number 3)[4]

  Maybe one day when everybody starts to listen and take notice of all the women who are ill, proper studies will take place, not studies of women that have only had implants in place for six months. There is a latency period before it becomes apparent that they may have problems. This could be four years to eight years after implantation or even 15 years, it all depends on the individual. (see enclosed documentation number 4)

  The IRG announced at their open day in October that they were putting money into the study of ruptures. They know already that Implants rupture over time. Sometimes sooner rather than later, as many people have reported already. So why waste money unnecessarily when America has already carried out these studies a long time ago?

  For your information I have been diagnosed with Post Silicone Implant Syndrome at St Thomas's Hospital in Westminster. I have been treated very well by all doctors in residence. I also attend the Rheumatology Clinic who are continuing to help assist me and monitor my health problems.

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