Web Log – May 2017 – Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)

The following is a communication to patients from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons regarding ALCL.  The key messages are that ALCL is extremely rare, usually treatable, and there is absolutely no recommendation to have implants removed without evidence of a problem. The link below provides more detailed explanation.  I have no further information than what the ASPS presents, but we at Wigod Plastic Surgery are happy speak with you or see you if our perspective and reassurance would be helpful.

You may have heard recent media reports regarding breast implants and a rare form of cancer. The FDA recently updated information regarding this disease (Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)). The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is working closely with the FDA in monitoring the disease.

BIA-ALCL is not a breast cancer, but a rare and treatable T-cell lymphoma that usually develops as a fluid swelling around breast implants.

The lifetime risk for this disease appears to be about 1 case for every 30,000 textured implants. This equates to a 0.003 percent risk. Thus far, there have been no confirmed cases of BIA-ALCL in women who have had only “smooth-surface” breast implants.

The FDA is not recommending removal of textured implants. Rather, the FDA recommends that every woman conduct regular self-examination. If you develop swelling or a lump in your breast, contact your surgeon who will comprehensively evaluate you and order the appropriate tests to determine if any treatment is indicated.

Women who develop BIA-ALCL can often be cured by simply removing the implant and the scar tissue surrounding it. Some patients may require additional treatment (such as radiation or chemotherapy). Following removal, replacement with a smooth surface implant may be an option.

For additional information about BIA-ALCL, consult the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website at www.plasticsurgery.org/alcl.

Mark D. Wigod, MD, FACS, providing Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery to Boise, Meridian, Treasure Valley and Southeastern Idaho.

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