Breast implants have been used since 1962, when silicone gel implants were placed in a patient in Houston, Texas. Up until a few years ago, there was no association between breast cancer and breast implants. However, a link was recently made between a rare form of cancer, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and breast implants with a textured outer shell. Due to this link, the cancer is now being called Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma or BIA-ALCL. Here’s what you should know about the recent findings:
At this time, this relatively rare form of cancer has only been associated with textured implants, not smooth-surface implants. The estimated incidence is approximately 1 in 30,000 patients. There have been no cases to date found in any patients with smooth-shell implants.
The most common symptom of BIA-ALCL is abnormally swollen or enlarged breasts cause by fluid accumulation inside the breast capsule. Typically, this symptom occurs years after implantation.
The FDA does not recommend prophylactic removal of textured implants if no abnormal symptoms exist.
If you have textured implants, a follow-up exam with your surgeon may be a good idea. You should also continue with yearly breast exams and appropriate mammograms as recommended for any female with or without breast implants.
If you have textured implants with early fluid accumulation, implant removal and removal of the surrounding breast capsule has proven effective in the majority of patients.
While the FDA does not recommend implant removal if no symptoms are present, it may be wise to consider if you’ve had textured implants in place for many years. Special tests, such as a needle biopsy, can be performed if abnormal fluid does develop around your textured implants.
Roughly a half million breast augmentations are performed in the United States each year. Nearly 90 percent are done with smooth-shell implants that currently have no association with breast cancer. While the FDA presently feels that textured implants are safe, Dr. Cuzalina recommends avoiding textured implants at this time. As such, he will continue using only smooth-shell breast implants for his patients.
Not only does Dr. Cuzalina feel this is the safest and most prudent course of action based on the current data, he also recognizes the many benefits of smooth implants. Compared to textured implants, smooth implants have a lower leakage rate and are less likely to ripple.
If you have questions or concerns about the recent findings linking textured implants to a rare form of breast cancer, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer complimentary follow-up visits for all breast augmentation patients.
To get in touch, call 918-392-7900. We serve patients in Tulsa and surrounding areas of Oklahoma, as well as many out-of-state and international patients.