The Breast Implant Recall Needs to be DiscussedSunday, September 15, 2019
A recall on breast implants is a big deal. Even if you do not have the type of implants that the FDA has asked to be taken off the market, you may be wondering how this recall might affect you. We can understand why this event may cause lingering concern for millions of women. For this reason alone, it is a topic that needs to be discussed with as much clarity as possible. We’ll do that here in hopes that specific details may set your mind at ease.
Why Were Breast Implants Recalled?
In 2011, a handful of cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) were identified. In response to these cases, the FDA began an investigation into additional cases. A registry was established to accept new reports of this rare cancer, allowing researchers to track the number of cases and their details. Recently, statistics demonstrated that, of 573 cases of BIA-ALCL worldwide, 481 of them involved the same family of breast implants. The increased risk of disease related to these implants led to the prompt recall of specific types.
Which Breast Implants Have been Recalled?
- Only textured breast implants and tissue expanders have been recalled.
- All devices are in the Natrelle line by Allergan.
- The BioCell breast implants in the Natrelle line include saline, silicone, and highly-cohesive anatomically shaped silicone textured breast implants.
- Natrelle tissue expanders type 133 with and without suture tabs are also included.
What is Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma?
This medical term has become more familiar in recent years as the risk of disease has been analyzed. BIA-ALCL, as a type of lymphoma, affects the immune system. Cancerous cells first develop in fluid that may accumulate around a breast implant. Over time, these cells can migrate to lymph nodes, where they pose a more serious risk.
BIA-ALCL is not without symptoms. Women are encouraged to schedule an exam with a plastic surgeon if they experience:
- Breast pain
- Swelling in one breast
- A mass in the breast
- Changes in the shape or firmness of a breast
Symptomatic breast implants do not mean that BIA-ALCL has developed. It means that something may be going on in the tissue around the breast. To diagnose this cancer, a doctor may first order imaging that can observe the presence of fluid around the breast implant. Then, a sample of this fluid can be obtained to test for cancer cells.
It is important to note that BIA-ALCL can be easily treated when symptoms are checked early. In more than 90% of cases, the removal of both breast implants and their surrounding capsular tissue has achieved complete eradication of the disease.
The fact that certain textured breast implants have been recalled does not mean that your breast implants need to be removed. It means only that the specifically named implants pose a higher risk for complication. Unless a complication occurs, there is no reason to undergo an unnecessary surgery.
Do you have questions about breast implants? We’re here for you. Contact our Denver office at 303.399.7662 to schedule a visit.