Cos­met­ics urgery

What you should know

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - BODY & SOUL -

Breast op­er­a­tions 'must not be sold like dou­ble glaz­ing' In the wake of the PIP breast im­plant scan­dal, the cos­metic in­dus­try is un­der close scru­tiny. Here, three ex­perts spell out the hard facts be­hind the hard sell. Cather­ine O’Brien re­ports

C os­metic surgery is one of our few ex­pand­ing in­dus­tries — treat­ment rates dou­bled dur­ing the Celtic Tiger. In 2006, the mar­ket in Ire­land was worth about €25 mil­lion; by the start of 2009 it was val­ued at al­most € 50 mil­lion, and most of the pa­tients were women.

But the PIP scan­dal — in which 1,500 Ir­ish women were given sub­stan­dard breast im­plants made of in­dus­trial rather than med­i­cal-grade sil­i­cone gel by the French man­u­fac­turer Poly Im­plant Prothèse — has made many ques­tion the quest for perfection. We have warn­ings about be­ing on the brink of a body-im­age cri­sis, with stud­ies show­ing that two thirds of adults don’t like the way they look. It is even be­ing sug­gested that pa­tients who want cos­metic surgery should first have to un­dergo psy­cho­log­i­cal screen­ing.

The con­tro­ver­sial PIP im­plants were car­ried out at three pri­vate clin­ics here — the Clane Hos­pi­tal in Kil­dare, Shan­don Street Hos­pi­tal in Cork and Har­ley Med­i­cal Group in Dublin. The Depart­ment of Health has since an­nounced plans for a manda­tory li­cens­ing sys­tem for health­care fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing cos­metic surgery clin­ics. As of April, the Ir­ish Medicines Board had re­ceived com­plaints about rup­tures of PIP im­plants from 210 women and the State has com­mit­ted to cover the cost of their re­moval where it is deemed clin­i­cally nec­es­sary.

It has never been eas­ier for us to change the way we look. But cos­metic pro­ce­dures can go wrong; we have no ac­cu­rate statis­tics for blun­ders — as many treat­ments are per­formed in pri­vate clin­ics and the in­dus­try is largely self-reg­u­lated. So if you are con­sid­er­ing cos­metic surgery, it is vi­tal to check out the facts be­fore you com­mit.

Tighter re­stric­tions on cos­metic surgery urged

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