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article imageBreast implant scandal hurts female dream to become 'amazing'

By Joan Firstenberg     Jan 8, 2012 in Health
Toulon - Industrial silicone-infused breast augmentations have been going on since 1997. It is believed that 450,000 women worldwide were operated on with PIP's faulty implants. Some are in pain, others are frightened, and most know the 'dream' is over.
The public has become used to the sight of bullet-proof breasts that unnaturally point upwards, and the bubbly talk of “boob-jobs” and “double-Ds” In ads for cosmetic surgery clinics and between women and their friends. Other big breast buzz-words include “fullness”, “pertness” and “enhanced femininity”.
The faulty breasts were implanted into women who needed breast reconstruction following mastectomies, very young girls, and recently even into men in their buttocks and chest. One of the main reasons that people who wanted cosmetic enhancing fillers chose the PIP product is that it cost a fraction of the price of the clinically approved Nusil gel. The Telegraph reports that PIP or Poly Implant Prothese's elderly founder, Jean-Claude Mas allegedly told police in November that his product was better than Nusil gel.
But the recent news of PIP implants rupturing and leaking industrial-grade silicone into lymph nodes and the vision of a removed, faulty implant spurting slimy yellow strands doesn’t go well with the dream. Still, the harsh truth is that post-operative problems don't only happen with PIP implants. All implants present the risk of rupturing or leaking, even with the official fillers. But they at least contain medical grade silicon which is believed to be less dangerous to the human body.
Leaks of silicone from PIP implants can cause agonizing pain, as well as swelling and lumps in the breast and armpit, some of which women often easily mistake for tumors.
One common complication that can occur after breast augmentation surgery is “capsular contracture”. This happens when the scar tissue that the body automatically creates to accept a foreign object hardens painfully around the implant, creating pains and something called "coconut" breasts. This has to be fixed by a surgeon. He or she squeezes the breast manually until the “scar envelope” cracks open, or if necessary, creates more incisions.
But the women and girls and now men, who have that powerful desire to have augmentation surgery, caught up with the dream of it making them prettier, handsomer, more desirable are unlikely to be put off by boring talk of possible complications or now, by the reports that PIP's cheaper implants are infused with industrial-grade silicon.
Groups to encourage breast augmentation have been appearing on the web. One group is call MYA, or Make Yourself Amazing. On that site, the talk is about diligently saving up money to get the operation. Discussion usually centers around sizes, shapes and brands of implants. Everyone gives advice, including, "Go as big as your surgeon will let you," and "I want these boobs more than anything."
Of course, there are other websites that discuss the terrible worries and fears created about PIP implants that have ruptured, and all the problems that go into removing and replacing them.
Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Mas, the French millionaire at the center of the scandal is now making accusations of his own.
"Psychologically frail women are trying to make money out of me."
The Guardian reports that the 72-year-old who is facing criminal charges around the world, also insists that he has ‘nothing to say’ to his victims.
Excerpts from Mr Mas's original interviews with authorities are being re-examined by a French magistrate, who has released parts of it.
The interviews reveal that PIP deceived European safety inspectors ‘without any problems’ for 13 years by ordering employees to hide the unauthorized silicone when they visited its factory. When asked if he knew his industrial-strength gel could cause the implants to rupture, Mr Mas told police
"Not to my knowledge. I have nothing to say to the women supplied with them.’
Mas also said that he ‘felt really good’ about his products throughout the period when they were being made right until PIP was liquidated in 2010.
Laurent Gaudon, a lawyer representing four women who are victims of the defective implants criticized the
"appalling cynicism and greed of Jean-Claude Mas."
Mr Mas is currently in hiding, and is facing two separate French police investigations for manslaughter and fraud.
Mas has claimed through his lawyer, Yves Haddad, that his implants were entirely safe, and helped women who might otherwise not have been able to afford an operation.
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