Updated from 5:31 p.m. EDT

Mentor ( MNT) reported fourth-quarter results that exceeded analysts' expectations, and the company offered guidance for the fiscal year that would top Wall Street's estimates.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., company earned $8.4 million, or 19 cents a share, on revenue of $131.6 million for the three months ended March 31. These figures, which reflect one-time items, compared with a profit of $15 million, or 31 cents a share, on revenue of $117.3 million for the same period last year.

The fourth-quarter charges amounted to 23 cents a share for severance, restructuring and impaired assets. Excluding charges, Mentor's fourth-quarter earnings of 42 cents a share handily beat the consensus estimate of 37 cents from analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

The company, which specializes in breast implants, as well as urological surgery devices and consumer health care products, said it expects sales to grow at a "low double digit rate" for the current fiscal year, adding that its earnings per share should be in the range of $1.60 to $1.65. The Thomson First Call average prediction was $1.56.

"Mentor had a great year," Joshua H. Levine, the chief executive, said Wednesday. " It established the foundation for significant growth in 2006 and beyond."

Mentor's prospects were enhanced last month when an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration recommended approving Mentor's silicone gel breast implant for cosmetic purposes.

The advisory committee's recommendation on April 13 contained a host of conditions, but the decision was significant because one day earlier, the panel had rejected a silicone-gel implant application from Mentor's next-door neighbor and rival Inamed ( IMDC).

The FDA isn't bound by its advisory panel recommendations, but if the agency backs Mentor and rejects Inamed, Mentor will enjoy a significant marketing advantage.

Levine declined to comment on any talks between the company and the FDA, and he wouldn't speculate on when the FDA might act. He said earnings and sales guidance for the current fiscal year excludes any consideration of a possible FDA approval for the implants.

Silicone-gel breast implants have been restricted in the U.S. since 1992 to several uses, such as reconstructive breast surgery following a mastectomy. The big money, however, would be in cosmetic surgery.

Mentor and Inamed both sell saline-filled implants in the U.S. for cosmetic purposes, and they sell silicone implants in foreign markets. Implant companies and plastic surgeons say the silicone implants have a more natural look and feel.

So far, companies haven't been able to get FDA approval for a broader use of silicone implants. They haven't been able to demonstrate, to the agency's satisfaction, the long-term safety impact of these devices.

Breast implants are Mentor's best-selling products, accounting for $217.4 million, or 45%, of corporate sales for the fiscal year ended March 31.

The company issued its results after markets had closed. In regular trading, Mentor's stock closed up $1.33, or 3.5%, to $39.70.

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