#ImplantFiles – Inside Delhi’s alleys, operation theatre, patient ward for breast implant surgery

#ImplantFiles – NARELA, WITH its narrow bylanes, is an industrial neighbourhood on the north-west outskirts of Delhi, the unlikeliest of places to house a clinic that conducts breast implant surgeries. But it is here, on the first floor of a building, that K D Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Centre has an operation theatre and a patient ward. And thriving, if you ask the centre’s manager who admits that breast implant surgeries are conducted here for around Rs 50,000 each.

In Pitampura, 20 km from K D Plastic Surgery Centre, is Olmec Plastic Surgery Centre. Here, the operation theatre is in a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) flat. It appears to be a busy centre given that the waiting period for a breast implant surgery here is two months. Common to the two centres is a technician. He once worked at the Olmec Plastic Surgery Centre. Realising how breast implants are in great demand, and the surgeries lucrative, he decided to set up his own shop. He now owns the K D Plastic Surgery Centre in Narela. What are his medical degrees? Is his clinic certified to do these surgeries? Is there a way to check his track record? Are there peers who will testify to his competence? Is he a quack with a scalpel?

Because nothing more powerfully illustrates what’s wrong with the medical device bazaar in India than the boom in India’s breast surgery market. No one is checking the implants for safety; regulators do not exist; technicians often double up as surgeons; shame and stigma prevent patients from reporting the gruesome aftermath of what has gone wrong. On Monday, The collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reported on how almost every medical device is advertised, sold and surgically implanted in a regulatory system that is waking up only now to a steady stream of adverse reports from across the country. From coronary stents and pacemakers to breast and knee implants, from pelvic meshes to intrauterine devices.


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