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RCS welcomes new Breast Implant Registry

15 Oct 2016

The Royal College of Surgeons has today urged patients who are planning to have breast implants to agree to their details being included on an opt-in national register, so that they can be contacted if there are any safety concerns about a specific implant. Thousands of women each year have breast implants inserted.

The Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry (BCIR) has been developed following Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions, in the wake of the Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) breast implant scandal, which led to PIP implants being withdrawn from the UK in 2010.

The new registry, which will be managed by NHS Digital, will record details of all breast implant procedures carried out in the NHS and private sector in England.  The registry will capture details of anyone who has breast implant surgery, so that they can be traced if a product is recalled, or there are any safety concerns around a particular implant.  It will also help track any possible trends and complications relating to specific implants.  Patients will be required to give their consent in order for their details to be added to the registry.

Commenting on the BCIR, Mr Stephen Cannon, chair of the Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee (CSIC) which was set up to make cosmetic surgery safer, said:

"The PIP breast implant scandal exposed the critical need for a national register to allow patients to be contacted without delay in the event of a product being recalled. Thousands of women suffered anguish and extreme distress as they waited to find out whether or not they had been given PIP implants which contained industrial grade silicone. Some of the women are still suffering the side effects and have said that they wished they had never had the procedure.

"This register will help trace patients who have had implants and allow swift action to be taken if there are any concerns about patient safety, removing that level of uncertainty for patients. It will also allow surgeons and hospitals to identify any trends in complication rates from the data gathered, improving patient care.

"We hope that all patients will consent to their details being included in this register to offer them better protection in the event of an implant being recalled and to help identify which implants have the best outcomes. Patients who have had reconstructive surgery on the NHS, for example following surgery for breast cancer, as well as patients who have chosen to have breast surgery in the private sector for aesthetic reasons, can have their details added to the register."

The register is one of a number of initiatives that are being introduced to make cosmetic surgery safer. The RCS recently published information for people who are considering cosmetic surgery on its website. In the coming months, it will also be launching a new certification system for surgeons - which will help patients to identify a surgeon with the appropriate training and experience for a specific procedure, in different parts of the country.

Notes to editors

1. More information about the Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry

2. The new patient resources for people considering cosmetic surgery can be viewed on the Royal College of Surgeons’ website

3. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

4. Membership of the CSIC and its sub-groups has included representatives of the relevant specialty associations including: the Association of Breast Surgery (ABS), The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS), The British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), The British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) and The British Association of Otorhinolaryngologists (ENT-UK). It also included: The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth), The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), patients (including the RCS Patient Liaison Group and The Patient Information Forum), Academy of British Cosmetic Practice, Association of Independent Healthcare (AIHO), Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), Regulators (General Medical Council, Care Quality Commission), NHS Choices, Psychologists, The Departments of Health in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Health and Social Care Directorate (as observers).

5. For more information, or to interview any of these patient case studies, please contact the RCS Press Office on: 020 7869 6052 / 6047;or email:

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