SEATTLE — Legislation passed today by the Senate would require physicians and osteopathic physicians to provide patients with full breast implant information and obtain informed consent before performing breast implant surgery.

SB 5441, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island), ensures informed consent — the process by which the treating health care provider discloses information to a patient so the patient may make a voluntary choice to accept or refuse a procedure. “This is an issue of women’s health,” Wellman said. “For various reasons, people consider breast implants. In the case of my daughter, it was after she had a double mastectomy and was strongly encouraged to get breast implants. Having battled an autoimmune condition for most of her life, she should have been presented with clear risks before making a decision. Unfortunately, she was not presented with the relevant risks but identified them later on her own. We heard from others who experienced this as well.”

Recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) studies tracked serious health risks associated with breast implants, including breast implant illness. The FDA has also issued recommendations concerning breast implant labels to help patients make an informed decision about whether to get breast implants.

“Many people could suffer for years before some doctor may identify a risk, like breast implant illness,” Wellman said. “This is a step in the right direction to make sure that patients have the information they need.”

“This bill helps highlight breast implant illness,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver), chair of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. “While more is being learned every day about this condition, many continue to suffer in silence, or are told their symptoms aren’t real. In the absence of conclusive science as of yet, we must help bring attention to the possible side effects of breast implant surgery. I am pleased to help Senator Wellman shine a light on this problem”.

The bill passed unanimously from the Senate and will now be considered by the House.