This week, the Allergan BIOCELL® textured breast implants were recalled at the request of the FDA. There is a concern about an association involving these textured implants and a type of breast lymphoma known as Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL. This recall does not apply to smooth-surfaced breast implants or any other brand of textured implants, such as Sientra® and Mentor®.
Is Breast Implant Illness Real?
While there is still research needed to prove the direct link or cause of breast implant illness, there are some side effects that women experience that can be a sign that their implants could require removal. The list of breast illness symptoms may include:
- Breast cysts
- Compromised immune system
- Sharp pain after breast augmentation
- Swelling and pain
Breast Cancer Treatments
The number of BIA-ALCL cases associated with the textured Allergan implants have been steadily increasing since the identification of breast implant-related disease in 2011. This has gone from a risk of 1 in 300,000 women to a present risk of 1 in 3,000 women, as more cases have been identified recently. While the risk and death rates are low, early detection and addressing concerns immediately is the best approach.
The FDA has currently identified 573 cases of BIA-ALCL worldwide, with 33 total deaths. When the signs of BIA-ALCL are detected early, complete breast implant removal along with the surrounding capsular (scar) tissue where the lymphoma exists is all that is necessary to treat the disease. Some patients are switching their Allergan textured implants with new implants through breast implant revision.
Do I Need to Remove My Implants?
The FDA recommends that textured implant removal is not necessary unless you notice an increase in breast size or other symptoms. BIA-ALCL causes fluid production; the lymphoma in the surrounding capsule accumulates around your breast implant and can sometimes be associated with pain.
If you experience any symptoms that could be signs of breast implant problems, infection, or cancer, please seek treatment by contacting your plastic surgeon to advise you on what the next step should be. They can remove the fluid and a breast radiologist can then analyze the content for specific markers that are related to BIA-ALCL.
Dr. Stephens discontinued using the Allergan BIOCELL® textured implants several years ago and switched to primarily smooth-surfaced implants. However, he did implant some of them along with predecessors such as McGahn and INAMED® round, textured silicone, shaped, textured saline, and anatomic implants. It is crucial to note that BIA-ALCL develops in implants that have been in for years.
We hope this information is helpful. Please contact our office with any questions or concerns, and to confirm your breast implant type. We can be reached at (425) 455-0444.