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Wednesday, 21 March, 2001, 11:53 GMT
When silicone implants go wrong
Women have had implants rupture in their bodies
Women have had implants rupture in their bodies
The European Union is considering new measures to improve the safety of silicone breast implants. The consequences for women whose implants start to leek can be dire.

Christine Williamson, head of Silicone Support UK:

Ms Williamson, lost breast tissue, chest muscle and lymph nodes when her implant ruptured and had to be removed.

She had the implants inserted in her late 20s.

"I had a silicone implant for 13 years. My husband wanted me to have it done because all my friends had it done. It was peer pressure, like a lot of young girls now."

During that time the scarred breast tissue around the implant contracted until the breast was, in Ms Williamson's words "as hard as a rock".

In 1994, when the implant ruptured, she went into hospital to have it removed.

"I woke up to find that they had removed breast tissue, chest muscle and lymph nodes."

Ms Williamson won £12,000 after taking the surgeon to the High Court. The judge forced the surgeon to admit women were not warned their implants could rupture.

"They said the implants would last a lifetime. I woke up from that operation to find my breast had been removed."

She is no longer married. "My husband said I wasn't the woman he married."

Margo Cameron: started Silicone Support UK Group:

Ms Cameron, now in her 40s, had silicone injected into her lips as a pre-wedding gift from her fiancé.

The hoped-for wedding never happened.

But just a few months after the operation, she started to suffer from headaches and nausea.

She also found she was less able to get around.

Looking for explanation, she saw a specialist in America shortly after she became ill.

He told her that the silicone had spread throughout her body.

But she says when she returned to the UK, British doctors refused to accept the existence of silicone poisoning.

In 1993, she formed the Silicone Support UK Group in 1993, to persuade the British Government to ban silicone implants.

She now suffers from multiple sclerosis.

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See also:

23 May 00 | Scotland
EC in silicone implants inquiry
11 Dec 00 | Health
Breast implants withdrawn
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