Sunday, September 24, 2006

Desperate measures by anti-implant lobby

Predictably as we prepare for the long overdue reintroducing of silicone breast implants, there's a final desperate attempt to do an end run around overwhelming scientific and medical evidence.

In the irony of ironies, a bill was introduced by Connecticut Democrat, Rosa DeLauro which ties claims of political interference delaying release OTC emergency contraception pills with a call for political interference to delay the reclassification of silicone implants from investigational status. For a summary of the major studies on silicone breast implants read this.

First the widely discredited issue re. platinum in implants was dug up from the grave (see here) in their press release:
"FDA decisions surrounding silicone breast implants have also been subject to industry pressures, according to the National Organization for Women (NOW). Women with breast implants have higher rates of hazardous levels of an oxidized form of platinum in hair, urine, blood, and breast milk samples. Some women were unaware of these risks, and made their children sick after breast feeding."

Even more ridiculous and echoing the bizarre testimony at several FDA hearings was the presence of someone at the press conference who claimed silicone implants both caused his wife to commit suicide & blamed breast-feeding for his daughters health problems(!).
"My wife, P.J., breast-fed two of our daughters after getting implants. Both are seriously ill," said Ed Brent during the press briefing. "My daughter Catherine is now in a wheelchair. In addition, five major studies, including one by National Cancer Institute, found that women with implants are more likely to commit suicide than other women. After my wife killed herself, the autopsy showed that she had platinum in her brain tissue, which a CDC scientist said could have influenced her decision. That's why the FDA needs to make sure that the implants being sold now are safe for long-term use, meaning ten years or more."

The findings that breast augmentation patients in some European studies have had slightly higher suicide rates is long been known (This has not been reproduced in North American series which have compared implant patients to all cosmetic surgery patients BTW). No one plausibly argues that implants cause suicidal ideations, but rather it correlates to a higher incidence of psychiatric disorders and depression among the self-selected group seeking cosmetic surgery. The issue re. to breast feeding has also long been settled to the medical community at large.



Anonymous said...

Talk about irony of ironies - aren't the same people who passionately argue for women to have "choice" (my body my choice, right?) the ones who are attempting to limit women's choice in breast reconstruction and augmentation?

Dr. Rob Oliver said...


Again lumping these two issues together is comedic and represents the convergence of the political right (obstructing emergency contraceptive access) & the far left (obstructing reintroduction silicone implants) into the evaluation of medicines & medical devices.

Both items in question here have tremendous amounts of data supporting their use when patients are given informed consent with the potential or theoretic risks.