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MENTOR CORP. OFFERS SALINE-FILLED BREAST IMPLANTS AS ALTERNATIVE TO SILICONE

 MENTOR CORP. OFFERS SALINE-FILLED BREAST IMPLANTS
 AS ALTERNATIVE TO SILICONE
 SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the Food and Drug Administration's decision yesterday to declare a 45-day moratorium on silicone gel implants, Mentor Corp. (NASDAQ: MNTR), a leading breast implant manufacturer, urged doctors to consider saline breast implants for women facing the loss of a breast from cancer. Saline breast implants, which are filled with salt water and not silicone gel, are not affected by the moratorium.
 Mentor Corp., one of two manufacturers of saline implants, has offered saline implants to doctors since 1969. In reaction to the FDA's call yesterday for a 45-day moratorium on the use of silicone gel breast implants, Dennis Condon, president of Mentor H/S, said the company has been besieged with requests from physicians looking for the alternative that FDA Commissioner David Kessler himself suggested -- saline implants.
 "Women scheduled for reconstruction or cosmetic augmentation within the next 45 days are in a quandary," said Grant Stevens, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles. "While I strongly believe in the safety of gel implants, I am reassuring my patients that at least saline is available. I have two patients scheduled for surgery this week who insist on proceeding with saline implants."
 Paul Striker, M.D., a New York-based board-certified plastic surgeon, has always favored saline and has implanted more than 2,500 of the devices. He believes that saline implants have several advantages. "Saline implants allow a smaller incision for insertion," noted Striker, "and breast symmetry is easier to achieve."
 According to Condon, because many doctors have a greater confidence in the long-term track record with Mentor's saline implants, 50 percent of Mentor's implant business is with saline products. "We are doubtful that at the end of 45 days, the FDA will have any meaningful data about the safety of gel implants. To reject the FDA panel's recommendation to approve gel implants will cause many cancer patients who are in the process of breast reconstruction incredible anguish. We can at least offer these women and their physicians a saline alternative."
 "Gel implants seem to be caught in the political crossfire," said Stevens, who hopes to return to silicone products following the moratorium. "The FDA reported just 2,500 cases of complications over a 30-year period. That's a tenth of a percent of 2 million women. If I didn't believe in the safety of these gel implants, I would have to ask several members of my immediate family to get them removed."
 -0- 1/9/92
 /NOTE: To set interviews with Stevens or Striker or with patients with either silicone or saline breast implants, contact Wendy Basil or Carline Kaplan at Halsted Communications, 213-937-4000 or 800-522-8877
 /CONTACT: Wendy Basil or Carline Kaplan of Halsted Communications, 213-937-4000 or 800-522-8877, for Mentor/
 (MNTR) CO: Mentor Corp. ST: California IN: MTC SU:


KJ-EH -- LA014 -- 8072 01/09/92 09:03 EST
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Date:Jan 9, 1992
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