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Wednesday, May 17 2017

Breast implant associated Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma- What’s my risk?

Breast Implants and anaplastic large-cell lymphoma

Last month the U. S. Food and Drug Administration updated its 2011 safety announcement regarding breast implant associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).  Since this update, there have been a few news articles published that have caused some fear and concern among some of our patients.  We want to provide some facts and information about this disease.

This is what is currently known about Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell-lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). It  is a rare ( 1 in 500,000 to 3 million)  and very treatable T-cell lymphoma that can develop around breast implants.  It is not a cancer of the breast tissue.   In case studies performed, the ALCL cells were found in the fibrous scar capsule surrounding the implant.  Most of the women who were diagnosed had fluid that had collected around their implant (known as a seroma). Symptoms present as pain, persistent swelling of the breast, or a lump in the breast or underarm.  These symptoms often occur years after the placement of the implant (average of 8).

Here are the numbers and statistics regarding this rare condition. 

The American Society of Plastic Surgery reports that there are approximately 300,000 breast augmentation surgeries performed annually.  The lifetime risk of BIA-ALCL ranges from 1:30,000 to 1:50,000.

Treatment for BIA-ALCL involves removing the implant and the scar tissue capsule. Additional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation are usually not needed. The prognosis for women who are diagnosed is very good.

If you have implants, continue to follow your normal monitoring and follow up visits to your plastic surgeon.  If there are no symptoms of BIA-ALCL there is no need to remove the implant.

Reasons to have an evaluation are:-

  1. Delayed onset of  fluid collection or swelling around your implant usually years after the implant has been placed. Fluid around the implant at the time of surgery is normal.
  2. New mass, continued swelling or pain around the implant, or in your armpit.

Overall, this is still an extremely rare disease.  However, we would be happy to see you for an evaluation if you are still concerned or have any of the above symptoms.  Dr. Ong encourages follow-up with all breast implant patients on a yearly basis.  Please call us at (480) 771-7771 if you would like to come in for an evaluation.

Update: Read up on the recent Allure article about BIA-ALCL; diving in to the new research studies that were done after the FDA updated their safety announcement back in March 2017.  One study calculates the exact risk factors for BIA-ALCL and then provides relative context for the risk factors.  The other study digs deeper into the various types and manufacturing techniques of implants.


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