The Topic of Breast Implant Safety Revisited

The Topic of Breast Implant Safety Revisited

Since the initial development of breast implants, these medical devices have held a prestigious position in cosmetic surgery. Women around the world have enjoyed the benefits of beautifully augmented breasts for many years now, and the world of breast implant surgery has continued to improve. New implant devices have been developed over the years. Together with innovative surgical techniques, these new implant options have elevated both the safety and the cosmetic result of augmentation surgery.

Recently, there was a blow to the breast implant world. And we can understand that this may be concerning for many women. Here, we want to address the current breast implant recall in as much detail as possible. We hope that concise information may set your mind at ease regarding your health and wellness.

What Happened?

For well over a decade, the safety rating of breast implant treatment has been very high. A few years ago, however, a concern that breast implants may be linked to breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) developed. BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer. It is a rare type of lymphoma that develops in the fluid that may accumulate in the capsule around breast implants. The FDA has spent years exploring this potential connection, and it led to the recall of specific items.

During years of analysis of reported cases of BIA-ALCL, the FDA found a particular concern related to BioCell textured breast implants. These devices are a part of the Natrelle breast implant line by Allergan. Based on 573 reported cases, the FDA found that 481 included certain Natrelle products. As a result, the following have been recalled due to the increased risk of triggering abnormal cell growth:

  • Natrelle saline breast implants
  • Natrelle silicone breast implants
  • Inspira silicone breast implants
  • 410 Highly Cohesive anatomically-shaped silicone breast implants
  • 133 Plus tissue expander for breast reconstruction
  • 133 Plus tissue expander with suture tabs

What You Need to Do

A breast implant recall, even for a limited group of devices, can be frightening. We encourage any woman who is concerned about the effect her breast implants may have on her health to speak with her surgeon. The more you know, the better you can feel about whatever decision you come to about the future of your breast implants.

Should breast implants be removed?

This is the question that may be on your mind. What science has confirmed is that the Natrelle line of textured breast implants may pose an increased risk for BIA-ALCL. However, this risk does not mean that every woman with textured implants will develop this disease. It doesn’t even mean that every patient with the Natrelle brand of textured implants will develop this lymphoma in the breast capsule.

This means that breast implants don’t have to be removed unless you are showing signs of a potential problem. If one breast looks larger than the other, or one or both breasts hurt, we suggest scheduling a thorough consultation and examination with an experienced surgeon.

If symptoms of BIA-ALCL occur, imaging may be done to identify fluid in the breast capsule.  A sample of this fluid can also be obtained to test for cancerous cells. When the lymphoma is contained immediately around the breast implant, extraction of the implant as well as capsular tissue may completely remove the disease. More extensive treatment with chemotherapy may be needed if cancerous cells have spread to the lymph nodes. According to statistics, 93% of the women diagnosed with BIA-ALCL remain in excellent health three years after treatment.

Breast implant revision due to BIA-ALCL concerns is unnecessary in the majority of cases. However, this is a personal decision that every woman must make for herself. If you have questions about your breast implants or breast implant revision, call our Austin office at (512) 450-1077.

Posted in: Breast Augmentation

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Andrew Trussler, MD
5656 Bee Cave Road – Suite J200
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 450-1077 | Fax: (512) 450-1817

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