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Clinical Partners research into the emotional impact of PIP implants

concerned about PIP

Clinical Partner – Richard Sherry, Clinical Psychologist, compiled a short survey that tries to understand further the Psychological and emotional impact arising from the recent news of the medical risks associated with PIP breast implants – here are some of the interim results.

The survey found that well over half of the women who had responded had missed work due to stress over having PIPs, nearly 8 out of 10 feel their self-esteem and self-worth has been affected, two thirds are feeling severely depressed and anxious and 80% feel they will need the help of a therapist of counsellor. Nearly all (92%) are suffering from insomnia, with many needing medication.

Respondents confessed to being “in tears all the time‟ and “a complete mess‟, visiting their GPs for anxiety medication and sleeping pills, and in one instance even self-harming. Many reported being unable to be intimate with their partners, feeling unable to look after their children, wanting (or having to) quit their jobs and hating their own bodies.

The simple ten-question survey was devised by Richard Sherry, a counselling and clinical psychologist at Clinical Partners, who specialises in trauma and complex cases including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and depression said;

“Following a growing number of enquiries from women seeking support for the emotional issues they were facing following the PIP scare, I felt it was important to understand the greater impact this situation was creating for them and their families. Having a specialist interest in the psychology of cosmetic surgery, I knew that breasts in themselves can be complicated embodiments of femininity, sexuality and maternal identity. So when things go wrong, as they have – rather catastrophically in this instance –it can trigger deep levels of anxiety and even depression, so it’s essential to see the whole picture: beyond just the practical dimension to its psychological ramifications. The comments we received in this survey really highlight the severe levels of distress being felt by those affected. It is important to foster communities of support, and it behoves health professionals to address the emotional repercussions of this situation as urgently as the physical.”


  • Nearly half (48%) of women polled had missed work due to stress about PIPs
  • Over 9 out of 10 (92%) said their sleep had been “severely‟ (55%) or “considerably‟ (37%) affected
  • 71% said the experience had affected their relationship with their partners, with close to half (45%) saying “considerably‟ and over a quarter (26%) “severely‟. Less than 8% said ticked “Not at all‟
  • Over three quarters (77%) said their self-esteem and self-worth had been affected: 37% “considerably‟ and 40% “severely‟
  • Virtually all (96%) respondents felt depressed and anxious, with over 2/3 (68%) of women affected “severely” and 28% “considerably”. Only 5% said “a little‟ or “not at all” (0.9%)
  • More than 8 out of 10 (83%) feel their body image has been affected
  • A third (33%) have already seen a doctor or therapist to help with the emotional distress of having PIPs, and 80% feel they will need psychological support in the future regarding this issue


Harley Street news : 9 March 2012