*At the bottom of this page, read a very interesting editorial written by a Plastic Surgeon on January 7, 2007 in response to the recent FDA approval of silicon breast implants.
The Revised Settlement Program which included the 3M, Baxter and Bristol, the settling defendants, was final in 1997 and all timely filed claims were paid out. On the other hand, The Dow settlement was not settled until June 1, 2004 and many of the timely filed claims have still not been paid.
Lord & Faris has been representing Silicone Breast Implant Claimants since 1992. Since 1992, the firm has successfully represented over 350 silicone breast implant claimants and we have been able to recover anywhere from $10,000 to $250,000 for individuals who were able to prove that they had been injured by the implants by documenting through their medical records ruptured implants and autoimmune diseases. The product has been proven to rupture within five to seven years of surgery which can mean a need for several explant/implant surgeries in a lifetime. Recently, the FDA has again approved the use of silicone implants in spite of overwhelming testimony that silicone can be harmful to health.
Judge Hood Waited 5 1/2 Years To Make Critical Decisions
In July 2004, Judge Hood, who manages the Dow Settlement, was asked to make several critical decisions as they relate to the Dow Settlement. The Dow lawyers had chosen to change the language for the “A” disability and it has made it literally impossible for most claimants who were originally diagnosed with an A disability to be compensated at that level. Lord & Faris has submitted several motions to the court asking for her to decide that the language the Dow lawyers are using is incorrect and that Judge Hood immediately order that the Dow Settlement use the same language that was used in the previous settlement. That motion was argued in August 2004.
As of the writing of this entry, October, 2009, Judge Hood finally decided in favor of the claimants but her decision is being appealed. Most of the claims that were submitted by Lord & Faris have been paid. The only outstanding claims are those that were submitted as an “A” disability or as expanders. There is no indication of when this issue will be resolved.
We believe that this has been a very unfair settlement for women who were never warned of the potential difficulties in being implanted with silicone breast implants. Most of the claims were filed by September 1994 and the Dow defendants settlement was not settled until 2004 and the expanders issue and the A disability level claims are still not settled.
You can also call the Dow Corning information line at 1-866-874-6099. Please be aware the Dow Corning number and website are maintained by Dow Corning and may not always present an unbiased view of the settlement proceedings.
More Information Sources
We will try to update our web page with any new information as we receive it. You may find additional up to-date information on Tort Claimant’s Committee. If you have access to the internet, you can check for postings of the Tort Claimants Committee, which represents the implant claimants as a group in reaching a settlement with Dow Corning. Dow Corning has a website. You can also call the Dow Corning information line at 1-866-874-6099.
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BY EDWARD MELMED
Edward Melmed is a surgeon in Dallas. He wrote this piece for the Los Angeles Times 06.
The Friday before Thanksgiving, all U.S. plastic surgeons received a congratulatory e-mail from the principal manufacturer of breast implants.
“Let’s toast this monumental occasion,” reads the subject line. Silicone implants are coming back on the market for the first time since they were banned in 1992. Why not celebrate? It’s big money for easy surgery — and a lot of women want to look like the thin but big-busted women they see in lingerie catalogs and on “reality” TV shows. I seem to be one of the few plastic surgeons who won’t be getting out the champagne.
I have enlarged the breasts of thousands of women with silicone implants since they were introduced in the 1960s. I even wrote articles in favor of silicone. Then Paula S. came to see me in 1992. At age 32, she had had at least three breast surgeries, and each time her breasts became rock-hard and painful. She could not lie on her stomach. We replaced the silicone with smooth saline implants. Within a short time these too became hard, as did the next set.
Paula insisted on having her implants removed. She would not heed my warnings about deformity and scarring, which we had all been told inevitably follows removal without replacement. To my surprise, she looked terrific — normal, albeit smaller — and she felt better. Paula’s problem turned out to be common: Most breasts with silicone gel implants become hard with time. It’s called capsular contracture. All foreign objects in the body get encapsulated — just as the tissue around a splinter gets hard — until the foreign body is removed. Women with capsular contracture often end up with disfigured breasts and pain.
Recently I saw Helen S., 71, who had implants 23 years ago. Her breasts also had hardened and become painful. In addition, an MRI showed rupture of the implants and calcification of the surrounding scar tissue. When I removed the implants, the cavity was filled with gooey, liquid silicone that had ruptured; there was virtually no implant wall left.
In the past 14 years,I have removed implants from almost 1,000 women. I have found roughly 50 percent of their implants have ruptured within 10 years, and more than 70 percent have ruptured within 15 years. We are still not sure of all the places where the micro-droplets of silicone end up, though I have found it in lymph nodes.
Despite these known hazards, the Food and Drug Administration, under pressure from implant manufacturers, plastic surgeons and patients, this year is allowing a new generation of silicone implants in women age 22 and over. The new generations of implants, we are assured, are less likely to rupture. However, this claim has been made for every previous generation. To monitor women’s health, the FDA will require women who receive implants to have regular MRIs and has recommended that the implants be replaced every 10 years. It is a pity that women will become the experimental lab rats for these implants. They, not the manufacturers, will have to pay for the MRIs and replacements as recommended. Most plastic surgeons vehemently deny any connection between health complaints and leaking silicone implants. But I have seen a disturbing number of patients with symptoms, including fatigue, short-term memory loss, joint and muscle pains, skin rashes, disturbed sleep patterns, depression and hair loss, that clear up when implants are removed.
Last year, I completed a review of the last 500 gel implant removals I performed and found that more than half the women had similar symptoms, ranging from mild to debilitating. According to the manufacturers’ own literature, one in four women has additional surgery within the first year. Many women have multiple surgeries.
“Women deciding to have these implants need to be prepared to have additional surgery,” cautioned Dr. Daniel Schultz, head of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the FDA.
The FDA is requiring manufacturers to spend 10 years studying 80,000 women who receive the implants. Apparently our government’s policy has become “Approve now, test later.” At current implantation rates, these devices will be in the bodies of 5 percent of U.S. women within a decade. As I now see it, grossly outsized artificial breasts are a deformity that flouts medical standards and even the plastic surgeons society’s own definition of “cosmetic” — all too often encouraged by the media that celebrate these water balloons for self-esteem.
Though I do approve of the use of implants for breast reconstruction, when there is no other option, I no longer perform cosmetic breast augmentation. But let’s raise a glass of bubbly for the manufacturers and the plastic surgeons. This will be a happy and prosperous year, for them.
Lord & Faris Law Firm
111 Third Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55401
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