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Venezuelans re-examine costs of breast implants

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Summary of story from BBC, January 15, 2012

Women in Venezuela with faulty breast implants are getting help from the government to pay for their removal.

Poly Implant Prothese, a French company, had been producing faulty implants and distributing them around the world (see WVoN coverage).

About 400 Venezuelan women are suing distributors who used the implants in surgery.

Mary Karla, a 22-year-old medical student, was told by her doctor three years after her breast augmentation surgery that her implants had already ruptured.

“If I could go back in time,” she said, “I wouldn’t have the surgery again.”

Women worried about how they would look after the implants were removed – the Venezuelan government will pay to remove PIP implants, but has not offered to pay for reconstruction or replacement.

“I originally had the surgery to look better, not worse, and if I just have the implants removed now I think it will be a psychological blow. It’s going to look really ugly,” Karla said.

Between 35,000 and 40,000 women each year have surgery to enlarge their breasts, according to the Venezuelan Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Plastic surgery is popular in Latin American countries such as Venezuela, and banks offer special loans for cosmetic surgery.

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