April 12, 2005
The FDA is pondering the question whether silicone implants should once again be an option for women. As the hearing entered day two, one of the companies pushing the implants argued that the device is safe.
"We propose to you that the benefits of silicone breast implants outweigh the risks," said Patricia Walker of Inamed Corp.
Inamed Corp said their implants now have thicker shells and stickier silicone, making them safer. Silicone implants have been banned for 13 years, except for research use.
They are said to have caused serious symptoms in women, ranging from severe pain to cancer. One local lawyer who has represented about 1,000 women in lawsuits regarding the implants, agrees.
"I find it hard to believe that there's been such advances that they should go on the market," said Maryann Barnes of Tucker, Griffin, & Barnes.
However, years of research have largely cleared silicone-gel implants of causing chronic illnesses such as cancer or lupus.
One local plastic surgeon said she uses the implants on research patients and believes they are safe. She added that the implants have been found to not cause auto-immune problems.
However, many patients don't feel that way. On Monday, April 11, dozens of women spoke out against the devices. They shared stories of pain and chronic conditions from the leaking implants.
Others believe they should have a choice.
"Silicon implants are much more comfortable than saline," said Virginia Silverman.
Even though the FDA decided not to put the implants back on the market, most believe that some good will come out of the hearings.
"If they do nothing than increase awareness then that's a positive factor," said Barnes.