In early 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of a possible link between breast implants and the onset of ALCL, or anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
More recently, the FDA issued information concerning textured breast implants and ALCL, creating more worry among implant recipients. An article by plastic surgeon Dr. Bill Adams, board member for the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery addresses these concerns.
In the article Dr. Adams explains that Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is rare - with 242 cases reported globally - and it’s associated only with textured breast implants. Most implants used in the U.S. are smooth, and there are no reported BIA-ALCL cases involving them.
Research suggests that textured implants, because they have more surface area, can become a “medium” for bacteria, creating an environment conducive to chronic inflammation. However, not all textured implants may carry the same risk. According to Australia’s version of the FDA macro-textured implants are more likely to be involved in BIA-ALCL cases than the smoother, micro-textured products. Dr. Adams also emphasizes that BIA-ALCL is not associated with silicone.
Though patients need to be aware of potential implant problems, there is no need for alarm. The risk of developing BIA-ALCL is very low, approximately one in 30,000 individuals, and all known cases that were promptly identified and treated were cured.
Implant recipients should see their surgeon immediately upon noticing significant swelling, or an alteration in breast size and shape. The affected tissue will be aspirated and analyzed. If ALCL markers are found, surgery is the standard treatment. Further, all new implant patients should understand the difference between smooth and textured implants, and thoroughly discuss these options with their surgeon.
Source: The Plastic Surgery Channel
Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi