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51Zr9lTEY7L. SX322 BO1204203200 Susan Kolb a medical doctor who is uniquely qualified to tell this story because she has a specialty in plastic and reconstructive surgery, as well as extensive training in holistic medicine. Furthermore, both silicone and saline breast implants have been in her body, and she confronted the health challenges such prosthetic devices can produce. While her story is very personal, it also reflects the experience of hundreds of thousands of other women.

The story she tells involves multinational corporations, public health concerns and governmental organizations that have betrayed the very people they are charged with protecting. Suppressed research, legal battles, government hearings, political corruption and corporate greed are part of this saga. Yet it is also about healing, for it contains the promise that those involved will learn greater responsibility. As Dr. Kolb says, "Sometimes we all have to learn the hard way."

Silicone breast implants deteriorate over time, experts say, resulting in an increased risk of implant rupture. One study has estimated that 95% of implants can be expected to break within 20 years after surgical insertion. Experts believe up to two million American women have undergone breast augmentation surgeries involving implants. Twenty percent of those women elected to have the surgeries following mastectomy; the remaining 80% chose to do so for cosmetic reasons.

The FDA investigators contend that, although manufacturers of silicone-gel implants currently promote rupture rates as low as 0.2 - 1.1%, research is revealing that the integrity of breast implants deteriorates greatly over time. One study concluded that the proportion of patients who could expect to have both implants intact was 89% after 8 years and 31% after 12 years, but only 5% after 20 years.

One readily-apparent and unhealthy consequence of gel diffusion occurs when the immune system tries to isolate pockets of gel by forming hard 'granules' around them wherever they appear. In one case, a woman suffered pain, swelling, numbness and scarring in her hand after nodules formed around gel which had migrated to that extremity. Escaped silicone has also been discovered in rib cages, abdominal walls, livers, and groins. Extensive (surgical) dissection may be required to remove migrating silicone gel.

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