Does the Breast Implant Recall Affect Me?

Recently, the FDA requested that a specific selection of breast implant devices be taken off the market. Although the recall is limited, the fact that it happened at all has millions of women wondering if their breast implants may be affected. We understand that your peace of mind is integral to your overall well-being. Here, we want to touch on the details of the recent breast implant recall so you can feel more empowered in your decisions moving forward.

The Big Question

The primary question that women are asking at this time is whether or not they need to have their breast implants removed. The answer is no.

Now that we’ve tackled the Big One, let’s look at what this recall is about and what it may mean for you.

The FDA first became aware of a potential risk related to textured breast implants in 2011, when a small number of cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) emerged. Since that time, patients have been able to report their diagnosis on a registry to alert the FDA of their condition. As officials have analyzed data, they discovered that 481 of 573 cases of BIA-ALCL involved the same types of textured implants.

Recalled implants are made by Allergan. They are in the Natrelle line and include saline, silicone, highly-cohesive anatomically shaped silicone devices, and also Natrelle’s 133 tissue expanders (with and without suture tabs). All recalled implants are textured types.

What is Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma?

As a form of lymphoma, this rare cancer affects the body’s immune system. It originates in lymphocytes that live in the fluid that accumulates around breast implants. The accumulation of fluid is not a problem in and of itself; it’s relatively common. What doesn’t usually happen is cell mutation. BIA-ALCL occurs in approximately 10% of cases in which textured breast implants are placed.

The primary concern with BIA-ALCL is that the disease can spread from the breast pocket to nearby lymph nodes and, from there, to others throughout the body. Because the disease does provide warning signs (pain and swelling in the breast), there is time to treat it. In localized cases, treatment involves breast implant removal and the removal of capsular tissue. In more extensive cases of lymph node involvement, chemotherapy has been needed. Statistics indicate that approximately 93% of the women treated for BIA-ALCL have maintained remission for years after diagnosis.

What You Can Do

If you have breast implants, you benefit from routine mammograms as recommended by the FDA. If your breast implants are symptomatic (pain, swelling, itching, changes in shape or feel), schedule a consultation and examination with your plastic surgeon. Symptoms do not always mean that BIA-ALCL has developed. Your doctor can discuss further steps to take as needed to provide you with clear information and peace of mind.

Do you have questions about breast implants? Call our San Antonio office at 210-227-3223.

Posted in: Breast Implants

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