Researchers who believe they have found a simple test to check whether silicon breast implants are leaking won't be able to bring onto the market yet – because too few medics wanted to admit they had a breast operation by taking part in the research.
Organisers of the research at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Clinic in Munich had asked female doctors and nurses who had had breast implant operations to take part in the simple test that involves providing a sample of urine.
Project organiser Rudolf Schierl said: "It would be fair to say that our appeal didn't get a great deal of reaction."
And because they had no takers they had to concentrate their research on women who have had the controversial PIP implants who volunteered to help.
Of the 30 women that took part four were found to have platinum levels in urine that were 10 times the normal level – which researchers believe is an indication that there is problem with the implants leaking. Platinum in small amount is used during the production of silicon as a catalyst. A rip in a silicon breast implant sets the platinum free into the body.
Now with funding to carry on the project they are looking for another 100 volunteers who will admit to having breast implants who will help them to prove the initial results.
Project organiser Schierl said: "The platinum levels don't have any health relevance but are an indicator of a problem with the implants.
"If there are no other environmental considerations such as dental work than we believe it was a good chance that the higher platinum level indicates a problem with the implants.
"The results with four of the 30 women tested were good – but not enough to prove that there is a connection."
He confirmed the university had asked its own medical staff for cooperation but there had not been very much response.
He added: "If these colleagues had joined in then perhaps that might already be a test on the market."
A normal healthy person would usually have about 10 Nanogramms of platinum in a litre of your in.
In women with silicon implants which have started to leak it was 10 times as much.