Are Silicone Implants Still Considered Dangerous?

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Kerry Corum

Are silicone breast implants making a comeback?

The Food and Drug Administration starts public hearings into lifting the ban on the implants.

A steady stream of people, mostly women, lined up to voice their opinions about silicone breast implants before the FDA panel. Among the crowd are medical professionals, advocacy groups and members of the public.

Some are there to argue for access to an implant they say feels more natural.

Testimony will continue through Wednesday. An FDA panel recommendation is expected late in the day, no word on when the final decision by the FDA will be issued.

Others call the implants dangerous devices that left them scarred.

Central to the debate, is research done by one implant maker, the Inamed Corporation. Their research suggests that silicone implants, are no more dangerous than the saline devices.

A two-year study of more than 900 women, finds rupture and scarring are still common problems, with rates that are comparable to saline implants.

Within the first three years, 20 percent of cosmetic patients, and 46 percent of cancer reconstruction patients, end up with problems that require a second surgery - but still no link to long-term illnesses.

Researcher Dr. Caroline Glicksman says, "There is no correlation between systemic illness and silicone, and what I think it comes down to at this panel hearing, is a woman's right to choose."

But opponents argue that women don't have enough information to make an informed decision, and say that the evidence from the Inamed study suggests another story.

President of the Center for Policy Research for Women and Families, Dr. Diana Zuckerman says, "We were shocked that, in two-years, women had an increase of pain and fatigue, hair loss and rashes. These could be harbingers of serious autoimmune diseases later."

Information the FDA panel must weigh carefully, before it issues its recommendation.