FDA Ends Ban on Silicone Implants

David Brown and Christopher Lee, The Seattle Times: November 18, 2006

The Food and Drug Administration ended its 14-year ban on the cosmetic use of silicone breast implants yesterday, despite lingering safety concerns from some health advocates.

The FDA is requiring that manufacturers tell women that the implants “are not lifetime devices” and that most recipients will need at least one additional surgery to remove or replace their implants. The agency is requiring the makers, Mentor Corp. and Allergan Inc., to conduct an extensive study of at least 40,000 implant recipients over the next decade and provide their findings to the government. […]

Silicone implants were first marketed more than 30 years ago, but a moratorium was placed on them in 1992 after many women who had received them reported pain, deformity and serious illness caused when the implants ruptured or leaked. At the time, the FDA concluded there was “inadequate information to demonstrate that breast implants were safe and effective.” A major implant manufacturer, Dow Corning Corp., was pushed into bankruptcy because of lawsuits stemming from the problematic devices. […]

Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families, said the approval was the product of corporate lobbying rather than good science.

Zuckerman, a former Capitol Hill staffer who has worked on breast implant safety issues for more than 15 years, said too little is known about the long-term health risks of the implants. She said what is known indicates that some women will experience joint pain, chronic fatigue and leakage. […]

Read the original article here.