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Reports support breast surgery

January 07, 2007

Re "Big breasts, big risks," Opinion, Jan. 3

Dr. Edward Melmed's comments are misleading and disrespectful of the motives of the women who felt that the improvement in their self-image was worth the risks involved. Quoting his own writings in the plastic surgery literature: "The majority of women with breast implants have no complaints, are asymptomatic and continue to be pleased with their augmentation even over an extended period of time."

Consider the following data from worldwide medical literature. Troublesome capsular contracture: 8% to 12%; the cause is unknown. Broken implants: The 10-year "life expectancy" is based on data from older-style 1970s implants that were very fragile. Modern devices are stronger and have an indefinite life expectancy.

Implant-related illnesses: Of the more than 35 studies of more than 1 million women, none shows any direct connection to disease. These reports come from the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Medicine, Harvard University, the Mayo Clinic and British and Spanish government studies, among others. In the latest survey of women with implants, 98% said they would do it again. Of those requiring another surgery, 94% said it was worth it.

GARRY S. BRODY MD

Los Angeles

The writer is a clinical professor of plastic surgery at the USC School of Medicine.

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