We want the best for our patients. We use the best products available along with a hospital-grade operating room. But not everyone does – in fact, as recently as ten years ago there was a huge problem in the cosmetic surgery industry.
There was a French company called Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) and their implants, which were implanted in about 300,000 women worldwide, had a very high rupture rate. Lots of women were experiencing problems – far more than should ever be expected. The French government even ordered 30,000 French women who had PIP implants to have them replaced.
If you look at who was running PIP, this shouldn’t be surprising and by that I do not mean the French. PIP was partnered with Donald McGhan, an American business tycoon who is now serving a ten-year sentence for stealing $97 million from real estate investors. And his career was fraught with controversy even before that.
Before McGhan got caught stealing $97 million dollars (an act for which he said he is “deeply sorry”), he attempted to dodge FDA requirements and continue selling his dodgy implants anywhere he could, well after it was clear they were not fit for use. By 2003, the jig was up and the FDA did its best to recall all PIP implants, though the damage was done – thousands of women had already received the faulty product. Receiving PIP implants is not much of a concern anymore, however, as there have been only 48 reports of their rupture between 2001 and 2009 and the company is now defunct.
McGhan doesn’t have much of a future. He is in his 70’s now and may well die in prison. But the story gets interesting if you know how McGhan got his start – in the 1960’s he worked for Dow Corning developing the first silicone breast implant. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say he is at least partially responsible for the invention of silicone breast implants. In the 1970’s McGhan launched McGhan Medical and in the 1980’s merged with Inamed Corp., which is now part of Allergan, one of the leading manufacturers of breast implants today. Inamed makes its implants in Mexico.
The moral of the story is that when someone steals hundreds of millions of dollars and essentially poisons hundreds of thousands of people and then says, “I’m deeply sorry,” what they really mean is, “I’m deeply sorry I got caught. I had a good 70 years of getting away with stuff.”
Just to reiterate, we do not use Inamed implants, and we do not use PIP implants. We use Mentor implants, which are the only implants manufactured in the United States. They undergo rigorous testing and get the FDA’s seal of approval. This is just one more reason to do your research before choosing a plastic surgeon.