Memorandum by the Breast Implant Information
Society (B 14)
1. THE BREAST
Founded in January 1998, the Breast Implant
Information Society (BIIS) is a non-profit making organisation
funded solely by membership fees. The BIIS forms the UK's first
central, independent source of information on breast implants
and related surgery, set up for the benefit of all women. BIIS
aims and objectives are as follows:
1.1 To ensure every woman considering breast
implant surgery has the opportunity to receive sufficient pre-operative
advice and information, thus ensuring she gives her informed consent
before undergoing surgery.
1.2 To ensure every woman who already owns
implants has the opportunity to receive guidelines on the long-term
care and monitoring of her implanted breasts.
1.3 To create a collective of all implanted
women in the UK in order to obtain realistic feedback and figures
for the benefit of all implanted women and future research.
1.4 To actively seek out and help those
implanted women whose "quality of life" is being affected
by negative media coverage, and/or lack of knowledge on breast
1.5 To continually research every aspect
of breast implant surgery and to pass this information on to Members
in a concise and easy-to-understand way via "B-PLUS"
(the BIIS official newsletter) and BIIS "Hot News".
1.6 To provide advice and support on a one-to-one
basis in the form of a personal BIIS Voluntary Sponsor or via
the BIIS Telephone Helpline.
1.7 To ensure that the partners and/or family
members of these women receive sufficient information and advice
regarding their own important role both before and after surgery.
The BIIS does not offer medical advice, although
all medical terminology is translated into "plain English".
This ensures a more meaningful consultation with any surgeon or
other healthcare professional.
The BIIS will not make any recommendations regarding
any particular surgeon, clinic or hospital, nor the choice of
breast implant to be used. Every patient is different, possessing
her own unique requirements and medical history.
2. BIIS RESEARCH
The BIIS attempts to perform ongoing research
by sending out a detailed, confidential questionnaire to implanted
women. Some of the more significant statistics taken from completed
questionnaires are as follows:
2.1 58 per cent of women undergoing breast
augmentation surgery visited their GP in the first instanceonly
15 per cent received any verbal or written information and a shocking
66 per cent said that their GP did not make any attempt to find
out whether they wanted the surgery for the right reasons. Only
25 per cent of GP's looked at or examined their existing natural
breasts and only 14 per cent of women received advice on the importance
of regular monthly breast self-examination from their GP.
2.2 14 per cent of women attempted to get
their breast augmentation done through the NHS but were unsuccessful,
and only 3 per cent of these were referred to a psychologist.
2.3 26 per cent of women found their surgeon
by using the services on a private clinic or agent. 49 per cent
of these women were not provided with any literature on breast
enlargement surgery. Of the 51 per cent who were provided with
literature, 71 per cent found the literature inadequate.
2.4 11 per cent of women fell into the trap
of booking a date for surgery without having previously met the
surgeon for a full consultation. These women did not meet their
surgeon until the day of the surgery. 26 per cent of women were
not warned that their breasts could be very swollen and hard for
the first few weeks of recovery. Similarly, 53 per cent were not
warned that it could take several months for the implants to drop
into their natural position.
2.5 One of the things that shocked me during
my own recovery was the post-operative depression that I experienced.
49 per cent of breast augmentation patients suffer from this condition
yet 96 per cent of the women surveyed said they were not warned
that this was a possibility. 18 per cent were not advised to avoid
smoking or alcohol before surgery.
2.6 72 per cent of women had the opportunity
to see a sample breast implant before surgery, but only 35 per
cent got a chance to look at the surgeon's portfolio of "before"
and "after" pictures.
2.7 Only 20 per cent of women felt very
well informed before surgery; 41 per cent felt reasonably well
informed; 23 per cent felt they only knew the basics before agreeing
to go ahead with surgery; 34 per cent felt they should have learned
more before going ahead. 11 per cent admitted to not wanting to
know the facts in case they talked themselves out of having surgery!
2.8 41 per cent of women were asked to sign
a document detailing all the aspects that had been discussed during
pre-operative consultations, but only 10 per cent received a copy
of this document. Only 41 per cent of women knew the name of the
manufacturer of their respective implants, and only 23 per cent
knew the identification/serial number of their implants.
2.9 Only 26 per cent of women were given
the Patient Information Literature that accompanied their implants,
but 48 per cent of these women did not see the literature until
after their surgery.
2.10 61 per cent of women were able to reach
their surgeon easily to discuss any worries or concerns after
surgery, although 42 per cent felt deserted or forgotten by their
surgeon or clinic.
2.11 22 per cent were "more than satisfied"
with the results of their surgery; 21 per cent were "very
satisfied"; 27 per cent were "quite satisfied"
but 13 per cent were "disappointed" with the results,
seven per cent were "very unhappy" and eight per cent
were "so unhappy" that they were taking, or considering,
2.12 When asked for the reasons why they
had had surgery, women responded as follows:
72 per centto have a proportionate figure;
12 per centto have a large bust;
80 per centto feel feminine;
14 per centto attract attention from men;
1 per centto make partner jealous;
6 per centto stop partner noticing
27 per centto regain bust size and shape
68 per centto feel normal;
87 per centto feel more confident;
2.13 49 per cent of women surveyed had experienced
25 per centcapsular contracture;
3 per centcalcifications;
8 per centimplant rupture;
5 per centimplant displacement;
18 per centvisible rippling;
20 per centvisible "ridge" or
2.14 16 per cent of the women who surveyed
had their implants removed and replaced, 2 per cent had them removed
3. BIIS CONCLUSIONS
Following its own independent research and analysis,
the BIIS would like to make the following conclusions and recommendations
(not listed in any particular order of importance):
3.1 A lack of knowledge in the primary care
sectorGP's and other healthcare professionals need more
comprehensive information/literature to better assist/advise patients.
3.2 A general lack of pre-operative information/literature
provided by the cosmetic surgery industry. A standard pre-operative
"consent form" would assist both patients and surgeons
alike. This form would incorporate a list of all the subjects
discussed before committing to surgery and would be signed by
both the patient and the surgeon.
3.3 A lack of control regarding the activities/business
protocols amongst the many private clinics/agents. Some companies
offer a superb pre and post-operative service whereas others have
business procedures which are far from ideal and which take advantage
of the potential breast implant patient. The BIIS recommends that
some of these companies are investigated and exposed.
3.4 Many surgeons/companies within the cosmetic
surgery industry are not willing to inform their patients about
the BIIS or its related products and services. This is because
we tell it like it is-warts and all. In addition to its Membership
Scheme and Questionnaire Database, the BIIS publishes its own
100,000 word practical guide to cosmetic breast enlargement surgery.
This publication, entitled "The Ultimate Cleavage",
provides down-to-earth, practical advice on every aspect of breast
augmentation and has been nicknamed the "boob job bible"
by many readers. The BIIS would like some assistance in overcoming
these barriers to ensure that all women get the opportunity to
learn of our existence.