Last year, the FDA came out with a statement listing the risks and complications associated with breast implants. BIA-ALCL (Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma) and other breast implant related illnesses are still a relevant topic of discussion within plastic surgery societies and between patients and their plastic surgeons. With all the information regarding breast implants circulating the internet, it can be overwhelming to determine what is true. This is what Dr. Rehnke wants his patients to know about breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma What is it? A rare form of non-Hodgkin's T cell lymphoma, caused by chronic inflammation associated with breast implant capsules. It has only been associated with textured implant surfaces, and appears to be associated with certain genetic markers. It typically is seen in implants that have been in for many years but has been reported in as little as one year. Symptoms; swelling, pain, palpable mass in the breast/capsule, enlargement of one breast from fluid collection,etc.
● Estimates of this diseases’ incidence have ranged widely from 1 in 30,000 to 1 in 3,000 implantations, but a recent report from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute in New York City, have reported 1 in 354 breast reconstructions performed with textured implants, have developed BIA-ALCL.
● Treatment consists of removing the implant and complete capsulectomy. This has been curative in early stages of the disease. In cases where the diagnosis has been missed and the disease has progressed to later stages, chemotherapy may be necessary.
● Diagnosis relies on a high degree of suspicion and proper testing including; MRI, laboratory testing of seroma fluid, and biopsy of capsule in appropriate situations.
● This disease is very rare, and the FDA has not recommended removal of textured implants in patients who are asymptomatic and not suspected of having BIA-ALCL.
● See a board certified plastic surgeon if you have any concerns.