Some private clinics at the centre of the breast implant scandal are claiming they do not have “the skills” to treat affected patients, experts have warned.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said private firms were referring patients to the NHS if their implants have ruptured, claiming they cannot help them themselves.
About 40,000 women in the UK received implants manufactured by the now closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), with about 5 per cent of operations carried out on the NHS and the rest in private UK clinics.
The implants were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses.
The Government has said NHS patients will get their PIP implants removed for free and has called on private clinics to do the same.
Several major companies have agreed to honour the same deal but BAAPS said too many were referring patients to the NHS in what could be a “cost-containment” move.
BAAPS president, Fazel Fatah, said: “One of the side effects from ruptured PIP implants is an inflammatory response in the tissues exposed to the silicone – which is known to be of industrial, rather than medical grade.
“This can manifest as lumps and bumps in the chest area, under the breast, and enlarged lymph nodes.
“The lumps that form around the breast – a reaction to free silicone known as granulomas – can vary in size and if large may require being surgically removed.”