Breast Implants

FDA considers, again, lifting restrictions on silicone breast implants

Government documents show two companies are seeking an end to the nation's decade-plus ban on most silicone-gel breast implants.

The request comes despite lingering questions about how long the devices will last inside a woman's body and what health risks could result if they break. The implants have largely been exonerated of causing serious or chronic illnesses like cancer or lupus. But other complications, including scarring and breaks, remain a source of contention. Just 15 months ago, the FDA told manufacturers that it would not lift restrictions on the implants' sale until questions about breakage, in particular, were settled.

The two firms -- Inamed and Mentor -- say they have met that requirement. The Food and Drug Administration will consider the issue next week