Ethics and Privacy

The primary role of an ethics committee is to protect the welfare and rights of registry participants. Australian Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) are generally comprised of people with and without a health research background who, as a group, will only approve a project if it is conducted with integrity and respects the welfare of participants. The Monash University HREC oversees the conduct of the ABDR.

The ABDR is ethically reviewed and monitored in accordance with the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) (updated in 2015 to include opt-out consent).

The ABDR complies with the clinical quality registry standards and operating procedures outlined by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Operating Principles

The ABDR must also comply with state-based Privacy Acts, such as the Victorian Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014.

We are regularly in contact with HRECs in participating hospitals and health service operators, reporting updates on procedures and other issues of ethical relevance.


Why is the ABDR an 'opt-out' registry? What does that mean?

In 2012, a senate enquiry into the use of medical devices following the recall of PIP breast implants, recommended establishing an opt-out registry for breast implants as a priority.  The ‘opt-out’ approach will facilitate a high data capture rate and ensure the registry achieves (as close as possible to) full population coverage.

The ABDR has ethics approval to be an ‘opt-out’ registry.

An ‘opt-out’ approach means that if your surgeon is contributing to the ABDR, he/she forwards the details of your surgery (and the reason for the breast device surgery, such as breast cancer), your name, address and phone number for inclusion in the registry unless you advise that you do not want to participate.

Your surgeon will have informed you of their involvement in the ABDR  and provided you with a ABDR Patient Leaflet about the registry prior to surgery.

It is important to note that the only health information provided to the ABDR relates to surgeries involving breast devices, such as implants and expanders and dermal mesh. Your contact details are needed to validate the information (internal use only) and under no circumstances will be publicly available.  This information is kept in a bank-level secure database. Contact details will also enable you to be contacted in the event of a product recall.

Participation in the registry is entirely voluntary and your involvement will in no way affect your relationship with your surgeon or health service.

If you permit your data to be included on the registry you are not required to do a thing, although you are most welcome to stay in touch and update your contact details with us. You are free to withdraw at any time.

To opt out of participating in the ABDR, please call 1800 998 722 (freecall) or (03) 9903 0205 or email on

Which human research ethics committees (HRECs) oversee conduct of the ABDR?

HRECs supervising the ABDR include:

  • Alfred Hospital Ethics Committee
  • Bellberry HREC
  • Calvary Health Care Bruce HREC
  • Calvary Health Care Adelaide HREC
  • Epworth HealthCare HREC
  • HREC for the Northern Territory Department of Health and Menzies School of Health Research
  • Monash University HREC
  • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital HREC
  • Royal Perth Hospital HREC
  • South Eastern Sydney Local Health District HREC
  • St Andrew’s Hospital Ethics Committee
  • St John of God Health Care HREC
  • St Vincent’s Hospital HREC
  • Tasmania Health and Medical HREC
  • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital HREC
  • UnitingCare Queensland HREC

Who can I contact if I have concerns about the ABDR?

You are most welcome to discuss any aspect of the Australian Breast Device Registry with the ABDR Coordinator on Tel. (03) 9903 0205 or via email:

If you would like to speak to someone outside the registry or you have questions about being a research participant in general, you may contact the Monash University Human Ethics Office on Tel. (03) 9905 2052. You will need to quote the following project number: CF15/1452 – 2015000701