Venezuela's Chavez urges caution over implants

Reuters , Thursday 5 Jan 2012

Hugo Chavez slams popularity of breast implants after faulty prostheses scare, warns women as his government offers to remove any implants for free

President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday urged Venezuelan women to be cautious about breast implants after a global scare over faulty prostheses and blamed capitalism for the widespread popularity of breast augmentation.

Frequent ruptures of implants made by now defunct French manufacturer Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) spurred worldwide concern about possible health effects and led Venezuela to offer to remove them for free.

"We have to be more rigorous and, of course, we have to act to protect our people and call on the female population to be more careful," the socialist Chavez told reporters.

He blamed "capitalist advertising" for spurring the widespread use of breast augmentation surgery that is so popular in Venezuela it is sometimes given to teenage girls as a birthday present.

"They get it into your head that this is an indispensable part of beauty," Chavez said. "Now we've got this health problem, you see how far capitalism and the degeneration of health have gone."

Venezuela's health ministry urged women with breast implants to have them checked, but said they would not replace them if they were removed. One prominent Venezuelan plastic surgeon estimated that between 30,000 and 35,000 prostheses of all brands were used each year in Venezuela.

The French government has been investigating possible links to cancer from the gel used in PIP implants, which in some cases included industrial grade silicone, but has found no evidence so far.

Short link: