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Breast Implant Controversy

January 22, 1992

Plastic surgeons are genuinely concerned with the current breast implant controversy, and wish to do what is best for their patients. Many important issues are being ignored by the FDA and the news media.

Your conclusion (editorial, Jan. 7) that Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler did the right thing with the moratorium on breast implants was erroneous because you did not consider some of these other issues.

Kessler has focused on breast implants to the point that he is ignoring all the other types of exposure of the population to silicone. For example, since the early 1960s all disposable syringes, needles, and IV tubing have been coated on the inner surface with liquid silicone as a lubricant. It is quite likely that this source of silicone dwarfs the amount absorbed by breast implant patients. Other sources of silicone, such as antacid tablets, anti-colic medicine for newborns, hair spray, etc., cloud the issue even more.

Furthermore, a moratorium has not been placed on testicular implants. Maybe Kessler feels that men are more qualified than women to make an informed consent to have implant surgery.

Finally, if Kessler really has some "new disturbing findings" about breast implants I feel that he has the obligation of disseminating that information immediately to doctors involved in patient care. Instead, he is withholding this information.

Is Kessler really doing what is best for our patients?

ALLAN W. PERRY MD

Glendale

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