Silicone breast implants given the OK by the FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. has lifted a ban on the use of silicone breast implants.

But the removal of the 14 year ban carries the proviso that the implants be studied for side effects on 40,000 women for a 10 year period.

The FDA says a number of independent studies have failed to find evidence that the silicone breast implants caused tissue damage or cancer, but nevertheless safety concerns continue to worry some.

The breast implants were banned for the majority of American women in 1992 after complaints that the devices leaked and accusations that the leaking silicone made some women ill, but they remained legal in Britain.

The FDA says there still exists a risk of complications such as breast pain and implant rupture and that many silicone implants will eventually need to be removed or replaced and the women would probably need surgery again.

Advocates for the silicone implants say they look and feel more natural than those filled with salt water and cosmetic surgeons believe they will be the first choice for the 300,000 American women a year who opt for breast enlargement.

The news has been welcomed by many plastic surgeons who say the newer silicone implants are safer and the lifting of the U.S. ban will remove any lingering doubts about the safety of breast implants.

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