AROUND 20 women in Ireland who were fitted with breast implants at the centre of an international health scare have already had them removed and replaced.
Around 1,500 women here who had breast enlargement operations in Irish clinics got the French-made PIP silicone implants, which are suspected of having a higher risk of rupture than other similar products.
The implants were at the centre of health concerns in Europe in recent weeks.
Although there is no evidence of cancer risk, some figures indicate they could have a greater chance of rupturing.
Three cosmetic clinics used the implants in Ireland, including the Harley Medical Group, Clane Hospital in Kildare and Shandon Hospital in Cork.
A spokesman for Clane Hospital told the Irish Independent yesterday that around 20 women who received the implants at its clinic had them removed and replaced. He said that in the region of 200 women had been fitted with the implants which were licensed for use here by the watchdog, the Irish Medicines Board.
It followed the advice of the Irish Medicines Board to write to all women fitted with the implants after the products were withdrawn from the market almost two years ago.
The women were invited to have scans and anyone who had a rupture was offered to have them removed and replaced for free. "Less than 20 women had them removed and replaced," the spokesman said.
The Harley Medical Group and Shandon Hospital have not disclosed how many of their former patients have taken similar action.
The Harley Medical Group's website said yesterday that the official advice from health authorities was that "there is not sufficient evidence to recommend routine implant removal".