Breast Implants Essay

Breast Implants Essay

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Breast Implants

One of the first uses of silicone in a medical implant came in the form of
lifesaving tubes implanted into young children to funnel excess fluid from the
brain into the chest cavity, where the fluid could be safely metabolized and
excreted. Since these "shunts" were first used, in the late 1950s, silicone in
various forms has come to be an important part of many implants. "It is used in
tracheotomy tubes, in artificial lenses for the eye, in artificial heart valves
and in facial implants for birth defects or re-constructive surgery after
cancer" (Ames 1).
     The most widely used implementation of silicone is through breast re-
constructive surgery through elective surgery of an individual, or re-
constructive surgery to replace breasts due to women recovering from
mastectomies from breast cancer or miscellaneous types of accidents.
     The early history and use of implants showed no ill effects of the use
of paraffin or silicone. Because of this newly developed surgical process and
relatively little use of FDA guidelines there was no comprehensive testing done
to ensure the utmost safety of a silicone recipient.
     By this time the millions of women throughout the world who already had
Dow's silicone prosthesis implanted into their breasts had no idea of the
dramatic health risks. Because of these potential health risks, women should
avoid the use of breast implants.

          In 1976, Congress gave the FDA authority to regulate breast
implants. By this time breast implants had been in use for a
          significant amount of time and were considered "grandfathered."

This means that they were allowed to remain on the market, even though they
have not gone through stringent testing. The FDA felt there was no evidence to
substantiate that the implants were harmful. Furthermore Congress also gave the
FDA the power to go back and require manufactures to provide proof that the
implants were indeed safe and effective, if it was felt that there was a reason
to do so. (Bruning 7)
     "In 1977, Richard Mithoff, a Houston attorney, wins the first lawsuit
for a Cleveland woman who claims that her ruptured impla...

... middle of paper ...

internal memo's, thousands of these memo's revealed lack of long term
testing, complaints from doctors, and leakage of silicone from the implants.
The most outrageous incident discovered was complaints from surgeons of
implants rupturing in the operating room, as they tried to install them into
women's breasts (Byrne 98).
Pathology reports indicate considerable silicone reaction to the extruded
material can cause severe foreign body reaction in susceptible individuals. A
letter written to Dow Corning from Charles A. Vinnick a predominant cosmetic
surgeon in California wrote: " I am loathe to publish my series of cases as I
feel that it may open Pandora's box. I do feel, however, that rapid
dissemination of this information is very necessary to protect your comapny and
my colleagues" (Bryne 98). Vinnick complained to Dow about an incident when he
removed a pair of silicone implants, the gel in a ruptured implant was terribly
runny while the gel inside the other implant was of ideal cohesion. This
difference led him and some others to believe that when silicone gel came into
contact with tissue fluids and fat the gel's consistency changed.

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