What About Lymphoma and Implants?

  • Posted on: Apr 30 2020
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If you’ve been considering breast augmentation with Dr. Saltz, you’ve likely been doing some research, and you’ve probably come across news about a recall of textured breast implants. We did a blog on this a while back, but let’s bring you up to date.

This issue first came to light in the public on March 21, 2017. That was when the U.S. FDA made a safety announcement about a link between textured breast implants and a very rare form of cancer: anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In the announcement, the FDA called the cancer “breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

Since then, the ante has been upped. On May 28, 2019, Health Canada suspended the sale of Allergan Biocell breast implants. In July, the U.S. FDA followed suit with a ban, requesting Allergan to recall all Biocell textured implants.

Dr. Saltz has never placed Biocell textured implants, and he places the safety of his patients first. Still, here’s the latest news on this recall.

What the FDA said

The FDA requested that Allergan recall all Biocell textured breast implants and tissue expanders marketed in the U.S. due to risk of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. Based on the currently available information, the FDA’s analysis demonstrated that the risk of BIA-ALCL with Allergan Biocell textured implants is approximately 6 times the risk of BIA-ALCL with textured implants from other manufacturers in the U.S. That’s why the FDA instructed Allergan to stop distribution.

The suspension means that Allergan is no longer allowed to sell its Biocell macro-textured implants in the U.S., and all unused implants are to be sent back to the manufacturer.

There is no recommendation for women to remove textured implants, as the number of cases is exceedingly low. Still, women who have received Allergan Biocell macro-textured implants should be on the lookout for any signs such as swelling, lumps, and pain in the breast.

What is ALCL?

ALCL is an uncommon cancer that can develop in any part of the body, most commonly the lymph nodes and skin. Research suggests that BIA-ALCL is usually found near the breast implant within the surrounding scar tissue, not in the breast itself. The lifetime risk for developing BIA-ALCL from a textured implant is estimated to be from one in 4,000 to one in 30,000. At this point, the type of implant (silicone or saline) doesn’t seem make a difference. It is the implant texture.

How is BIA-ALCL treated?

This is still a very rare risk. Plus, when BIA-ALCL is caught early it is usually curable. Treatment involved surgical removal of the implants and the scar tissue capsule, as the lymphoma appears almost always to be only in the scar tissue capsule.

Do you have questions about BIA-ALCL or anything else with breast augmentation? As mentioned above, Dr. Saltz has never placed any of these textured implants, and he feels smooth implants, which have been subject to dozens of studies and reviewed thoroughly by the FDA, are safe. Plus, our patients who have had these implants have incredibly high satisfaction rates with their augmentation, as we’ve covered in more recent blogs.

If you want to know more, why not schedule a consultation with Dr. Saltz about augmentation? Call us at our Salt Lake City office, (801) 274-9500, or our Park City office, (435) 655-6612, to make your appointment.

Posted in: Blog, Breast Procedures

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