The Silicone Breast Implant Story: Communication and Uncertainty, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Silicone Breast Implant Story

Communication and Uncertainty, 1st Edition

By Marsha L. Vanderford, David H. Smith


240 pages

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Paperback: 9780805817072
pub: 1996-08-01
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This volume examines one health issue -- breast implants -- across a series of contexts often thought to be separate -- media coverage, doctor-patient interaction, doctor-doctor professional communication, support group dialogues, public relations campaigns, and more. In so doing, it provides a narrative of how communication shapes the individual perceptions of health, government, and social policy concerning health care.

At the core of the silicone breast implant controversy is the need for people to act amid uncertainty about the health risks involved. This need to weigh action in the midst of uncertain risk characterizes a large number of health issues. The attempts of patients, physicians, drug manufacturers, and others to seek and provide both information and influence makes communication central to these issues. Consequently, the questions explored in this volume will interest a diverse group of readers. This audience includes plastic surgeons in particular, physicians in general, and anyone involved with women's health issues. As the medical profession struggles with its identity amid changes in public attitudes, government regulations, and medical practices, this volume's findings concerning media portrayals of doctors and medical devices become even more important.

Finally, this study reveals how interrelated public information and private decisions are, and how closely media and interpersonal relationships fit. Tracing one medical issue across interpersonal, organizational, public relations, and mediated forums has clearly demonstrated the multiple ways those communication channels overlap and inform one another.


This book, an analysis of the controversy over the dangers of silicone breast implants, would be useful to health care professionals, women with implants, and all those interested in health care policy debates and the media's role in health-related controversies.

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Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. The Authors' Story: A Project With a Life of Its Own. Stories of Implants and Illness: Loss and Confusion. Stories of Implants and Illness: Diagnosis and Direction. Stories of Success and Satisfaction. Doctors in Conflict: Different Specialties, Different Stories. Rationality and Narrative: Media Stories About Safety and Risk. Vilification Stories: Plastic Surgery and Profit. Vilification Stories: The Fall of Dow Corning by Tonja E. Olive. Public Perceptions of the Implant Story. Interpreting the Stories: Lessons for Communciating About Health. Tonja E. Olive, Vilification Stories: The Fall of Dow Corning. Public Perceptions of the Implant Story. Interpreting the Stories: Lessons for Communciating About Health.

About the Series

Routledge Communication Series

The Routledge Communication Series covers the breadth of the communication discipline, from interpersonal communication to public relations, offering textbooks, handbooks, and scholarly reference materials.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies