Typically, conversations that revolve around breast implants lean to the side of excitement. For decades, breast augmentation surgery has helped women feel more like themselves, more at home in their own body. That can still be the case. However, the recent recall of certain models of textured breast implants by the United States Food and Drug Administration has created a wave of fear that doesn’t need to be. Here, we want to discuss details of the recent breast implant recall so you can feel empowered to make the best decision about your wellness.
At a Glance
In a situation such as this, we know that what you want is clear, concise information. The breast implant recall at a glance shows us the following:
- The FDA has requested that certain BioCell implants made by Allergan be recalled due to an increased risk of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
- The recall does not mean that breast implants have to be removed.
- Recalled breast implants are contained within one line by one manufacturer (more on this in a moment).
- Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma is highly curable when treated early.
The big question that may be on your mind, understandably, is whether or not this recall suggests that you should have your breast implants removed. You may be asking this question even if you do not have a model that has been recalled. You may be asking this question even if you don’t have textured implants!
Having breast implants removed is a very personal decision. Consider the following as you make yours:
- Cases of BIA-ALCL are quite rare, limited to about 10% of cases. They are limited to Natrelle textured breast implants made by Allergan.
- BIA-ALCL is not expected to develop in every patient with recalled textured breast implants.
- The rare form of lymphoma has been successfully treated in more than 90% of diagnosed cases.
Implants included in the FDA recall are Natrelle saline and silicone models, including highly cohesive anatomically shaped silicone implants. Additionally, the 133 tissue expander and 133 tissue expander with suture tabs in the Natrelle line have also been recalled. If you are unsure of the model of your breast implant, you can contact your treating plastic surgeon. This information will be contained in your medical record.
What is Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma?
BIA-ALCL is a form of lymphoma that develops in the body’s immune system. Directly, cancerous cells begin to grow in the fluid that accumulates around breast implants. Fluid accumulation can occur around numerous different kinds of implants. The FDA recall of BioCell implants occurred because Natrelle textured implants were involved in 481 out of 573 reported cases of BIA-ALCL. No other implant devices have been recalled.
Signs of BIA-ALCL include pain and swelling. One breast may look much larger than the other. Patients may also experience itching, a mass that feels like a breast cyst, or a rash on the breast. It is important to have these symptoms examined but to also know that none are a clear indication of potential lymphoma on their own.
If you are concerned about how the recent breast implant recall may affect you, schedule a visit to our Cincinnati office for a full consultation and examination. Typically, patients are advised to continue their recommended breast exams and mammograms. However, your peace of mind is important. A visit with a qualified plastic surgeon may help you feel more confident that your body will alert you of a problem, and how to watch for clues.