Britain allows silicone breast implants


LONDON -- Britain's chief medical officer has told doctors that they can continue to use silicone gel breast implants despite a temporary suspension of the procedure in the United States.

Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended a 45-day moratorium on the supply or use of silicone gel implants while new information questioning their safety is evaluated. Concerns focus on the possibility of reactions in the immune system caused by a leakage of silicone.

"I understand the concerns and anxiety felt by women over silicone gel breast implants," said Dr. Kenneth Calman, the Department of Health's chief medical officer. "However, on the information currently available, there is no reason for advising a general change in this form of surgical practice in the United Kingdom."

Dr. Calman said the health department had asked the FDA for the data that prompted the moratorium. He also said department experts would evaluate any new information on the potential risks associated with silicone gel breast implants as it becomes available.

"Should any cause for concern become apparent, modified departmental guidance will be issued urgently," Dr. Calman said.

Tens of thousands of British women are believed to have received implants in the last 30 years, 60 percent for reconstruction after mastectomy and 40 percent for cosmetic reasons.

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