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FDA approves new silicone gel-filled breast implant: Approval conditioned on post-approval safety studies

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a silicone gel-filled breast implant manufactured by Sientra Inc. to increase breast size (augmentation) in women at least 22 years old and to rebuild breast tissue (reconstruction) in women of any age.

As a condition of approval, Sientra is required to conduct post-approval studies that will assess long-term safety and effectiveness outcomes as well as the risks of rare disease outcomes.

Silicone gel-filled breast implants are medical devices implanted under the breast tissue or under the chest muscle for breast augmentation or reconstruction. These implants have a silicone outer shell that is filled with silicone gel. They come in different sizes and have either smooth or textured shells.

Breast reconstruction includes primary reconstruction to replace breast tissue that has been removed due to cancer or trauma or that has failed to develop properly due to a severe breast abnormality. Breast reconstruction also includes revision surgery to correct or improve the result of a primary breast reconstruction surgery.

Breast augmentation includes primary breast augmentation to increase the breast size, as well as revision surgery to correct or improve the result of a primary breast augmentation surgery.

With today’s approval, there are now three FDA-approved silicone gel-filled breast implants in the U.S. manufactured by Allergan, Mentor and Sientra.

“Data on these and other approved silicone gel-filled breast implants continue to demonstrate a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness,” said William Maisel, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director for science in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

“It’s important to remember that breast implants are not lifetime devices. Women should fully understand risks associated with breast implants before considering augmentation or reconstruction surgery, and recognize that long-term monitoring is essential.” said Maisel.

The FDA based its Sientra approval on three years of clinical data from 1,788 participants. Complications and outcomes reflected those found in previous studies of other breast implants and included tightening of the area around the implant (capsular contracture), re-operation, implant removal, an uneven appearance (asymmetry), and infection.

In June 2011, the FDA released a report that included preliminary safety data from post-approval studies from earlier breast implant approvals. The experience collecting and analyzing data from these studies informed the design and structure of post-approval studies for Sientra breast implants.

In addition to other post-approval conditions, Sientra will:

  • continue to follow the 1,788 clinical trial participants in their pre-market study for an additional 7 years;
  • conduct a 10-year study of 4,782 women receiving Sientra silicone gel-filled breast implants to collect information on long-term local complications such as capsular contracture, as well as less common disease outcomes, such as rheumatoid arthritis and breast and lung cancer; and
  • conduct five case-control studies that will evaluate the association between Sientra’s silicone gel-filled breast implants and five rare diseases: rare connective tissue disease, neurological disease, brain cancer, cervical/vulvar cancer, and lymphoma.

“The design of these post-approval studies will require Sientra to collect valuable safety information with adequate enrollment and follow-up,” said Maisel. “The FDA is committed to working with breast implant manufacturers to collect useful post-market data on long-term safety and effectiveness.”

Sientra Inc. is based in Santa Barbara, Calif.

For more information:

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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