Not For Vanity's Sake

After much debate, an expert panel approves silicone breast implants for reconstruction but not enhancement

Since the Food and Drug Administration declared a moratorium on silicone-gel implants last month, hundreds of thousands of American women have struggled to make sense of the claims and counterclaims being made about the little bag of gel in their breasts. Outspoken patients and plaintiff lawyers have blamed the implants for everything from rashes to cancer and deadly neurological disorders. Implant manufacturers and most doctors, on the other hand, have just as vigorously insisted that the prostheses are safe.

Last week an expert medical panel appointed by the FDA did its best to close out the debate. The panel declared that...