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Archive for Tuesday, January 7, 1992

SURGEON SAYS SILICONE IMPLANTS STILL AN OPTION FOR LOCAL PATIENTS

January 7, 1992

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A plastic surgeon who practices in Lawrence said today that he and his partner probably will continue to do silicone breast implants for women who want them.

Dr. John B. Moore, a plastic surgeon with the Plastic Reconstructive and Hand Surgery Center, which has an office in Lawrence, said he and Dr. Brad Storm will "still offer them as a choice to women."

Moore and Storm perform the surgeries in Olathe and Kansas City hospitals but have local patients who've undergone the procedure.

Moore said the main issue is informed consent. If a woman has been advised of the potential dangers of silicone breast implants, then she should be allowed to choose that option. Although he doesn't plan to stop offering the implants, Moore said he doubts if many women will want them because of the public fear that has surfaced recently.

THE FOOD and Drug Administration asked surgeons on Monday to quit giving women breast implants made of silicone gel pending further study of their risks, saying it "cannot assure the safety of these devices."

The devices are implanted in about 150,000 women a year and have been on the market for more than 30 years. An advisory panel is expected to convene in 45 days to assess the latest information about the implants.

The moratorium does not apply to saline-filled breast implants. Saline implants are encased in silicone, but are not believed to pose the same risk as silicone-gel implants since rupture or leakage would release salt water, rather than silicone gel, into the body.

According to FDA figures, 2 million women have received silicone gel breast implants, and more than 10,000 receive implants monthly.

Moore said he and Storm probably do between 30 to 40 implants annually. "It's not a huge part of our practice," Moore said.

He expects that few women will want implants but that a new substance replacing silicone gel probably will be developed in the future.

MOORE COMPARED silicone breast implants to someone who's been openly accused of murder. It may be determined later that the person was indeed not a murderer, but a "shadow" will continue to be cast over the accused, despite the fact that he or she has been cleared of the charges. The same is true with silicone breast implants, he said.

Moore said the public outcry about the implants surprised him because his patients have not experienced problems. Of his patients, Moore said about 60 percent seek implants for reconstructive reasons after breast cancer, for example and 40 percent want implants for cosmetic reasons. Nationally, about 80 percent are done for cosmetic reasons, according to the FDA.

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