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CNN LIVE TODAY

Silicone Breast Implants

Aired October 14, 2003 - 11:15   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Time for some health news now. An FDA panel is holding a hearing today on whether to lift a ban on silicone gel breast implants. The panel is hearing from the manufacturer, who wants the ban lifted, and from women on both sides of the issue.
Our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here with the details. What I was reading this morning? Over 200,000 women a year get breast implants.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a huge number. Huge. It's been a huge controversy. As you said, 11 years ago they were banned by the Food and Drug Administration. Now some people say they ought to come back, and so the FDA is holding two days worth of hearings, and this advisory committee that's holding the hearings and at the end of the day tomorrow will make a recommendation about whether or not they should be allowed back on the market.

Well this morning so far, many women have testified, saying that because of these implants, the silicone leaked, they suffered great pain, both emotional and physical and are urging the FDA not to let these things back on the market.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAROLYN KITTLE, IMPLANT HEARING WITNESS: Ever since I had breast implants after having two children your breasts were sagging and you husband wanted to have them bigger. She was only 22 years old. She immediately started having problems. They became hard, ruptured, and she has had at least five more breast surgeries. Her health has deteriorated. She has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), muscle pain, MS.

PAMELA DOWD, IMPLANT HEARING WITNESS: I began the road through reconstruction hell with a bilateral breast reconstruction that included a failed litisimus dorsey (ph) flap and three ruptured silicone breast implants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: Now, on the other side some researchers say there's no good science linking these illnesses to the implants. Also some women say, hey, if we want silicone breast implants and we have been appraised of all of the risks that are involved here, why shouldn't we be allowed to get them?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELE COLOMBO, IMPLANT HEARING WITNESS: What is at stake is a moral judgment, rather than a medical one. If my breasts are completely deflated from breast feeding, weight loss or age, improving my appearance with breast implant seems unacceptable because it would be for vanity. If I had a mastectomy, it would be acceptable because it could be justified as medically necessary. The difference is a moral one, and not a medical one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: Now, although these have been off the market for the past 11 years, some women have been getting silicone breast implants more recently when they're part of clinical trials.

KAGAN. Now can't say I have gone there and looked into this, but clearly, there are some women who want silicone instead of saline. What's the difference between the two?

COHEN: Right, because you might think, well, why not get just saline? They did seem to have the same problems as the silicone. But of course the reason people are getting these are for cosmetic reasons, and some people say the saline just can't measure up to the silicone. They don't look the same. They feel the same. So people don't seem to want the saline as much.

KAGAN: All right, whatever does it for you. Knock yourself out.

Elizabeth, thank you for that.

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