After an 11-year partial ban by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration silicone-gel breast implants may soon be used in
breast enhancement and reconstructive surgery.
Silicone-gel breast implants were banned in 1992 after reports
that leakage from the implants was causing serious disease. Since
the ban, silicone implants have still been available on a
restricted basis including women needing breast reconstruction or
those who have had silicone implants before according to Dr.
Jeffrey Chapman of Northern Colorado Plastic Surgery PC.
Inamed Corp., the manufacturer seeking to end the ban, has
argued that silicone implants stand no greater risk than the saline
implants most commonly used today.
According to Dr. Chapman many women consider silicone to have a
better appearance and more natural feel than saline when used in
breast implants. This is especially true when more than 50 percent
of augmented breast mass is comprised of an implant.
“There is varying opinions but most consider silicone to feel
softer than saline, which can often be stiffer,” said Chapman.
“Silicone implants are also more affected by gravity which pulls
them down when a woman stands up.”
Chapman expects silicone implants to be more expensive than the
saline alternatives, but how much more will not be known until FDA
approval and the reemergence of silicone implants on the
“It’s a black day for the women of this country when our
government doesn’t protect us from such dangerous products,” said
Lynda Roth of Greeley. Roth heads the Coalition of Silicone
However, after a 9-6 vote the FDA’s advisers approved letting
the silicone implants back on the market. Although the FDA does not
have to follow the advisers’ judgment it usually does.