Silicone vs. Saline

Oct 222003
Authors: Gabriel Dance

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.





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