FDA OKs Types of Silicone Implants, Ending Ban

The Food and Drug Administration this evening has approved broad marketing of two types of silicone breast implants, ending a 14-year moratorium on their use in this country for most women.

But the agency has ordered manufacturers to monitor women's experiences with the implants for the next 10 years in case problems arise.

The debate over the safety of silicone breast implants has been long, complicated and emotional.

Proponents say they're safe and provide the best cosmetic result. Opponents cite instances when women appear to have suffered a range of side effects — from scar tissue to immune disorders and even cancer — after silicone leaked out or the implants ruptured.

The new approval comes with stipulations, as the FDA requires women be at least 22 years old. The agency says the age requirement doesn't apply to breast-reconstruction surgery.

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