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Are Textured Breast Implants Linked to Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma?

Different types of breast implants have risks and benefits to consider. When creating a breast augmentation treatment plan at our Philadelphia, PA practice, our focus is on addressing a patient’s aesthetic goals. Yet with recent news from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, we may have to reconsider using textured implants on patients.

While cases are rare, the FDA has noted a potential link between textured breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Let’s consider the basics of the condition, the findings by the FDA, and what this means for patients. 

About Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The condition is also a subtype of T cell lymphoma. According to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, ALCL accounts for 16 percent of all T cell lymphomas and just 1 percent of all non-Hodgkin lymphomas. 

This type of cancer affects a type of white blood cell known as a lymphocyte. As it spreads through the body, it can adversely affect the lymph nodes and the overall lymphatic system. Most common in children and young adults, the survival rates of ALCL are high with proper treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Findings

Updated research by the FDA has brought attention to the potential health risks associated with textured breast implants.

The FDA has received 414 medical device reports about breast implants and cases of ALCL. These reports tragically included the deaths of 9 patients from ALCL. A total of 272 reports included details on the texture of the implants: 242 of the implants were textured, while just 30 implants were smooth.

In addition, the FDA noted that ALCL was more likely in patients with silicone breast implants (234 reports) than in patients who got saline breast implants (179 reports).

Signs and Symptoms of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma

Breast augmentation surgery patients should be aware of the following signs and symptoms of ALCL:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Persistent red bumps on the skin

If you notice any of the warning signs above, be sure to discuss these matters with your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection means a greater likelihood of successful treatment.

Should Patients Replace Their Textured Breast Implants?

For patient with breast implants (particularly textured silicone implants), removal or replacement of the implants may be an option to consider. Be sure to discuss these matters with your physician. They will have details on your medical history that will be crucial in making this decision. 

Concerns for Future Breast Augmentation Patients

Even though the risk of ALCL is low, our team wants to ensure that breast augmentation remains as safe as possible for all patients. This is why we will be sure to discuss the risks of ALCL as part of the consultation process. By being upfront with these potential risks, patients will be better able to make smart choices about their aesthetic goals and overall wellness.

Patient FAQ's for Breast Implant-Associated ALCL (BIA-ALCL) from The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

Contact Jefferson Plastic Surgery

For more information about potential health risks associated with textured breast implants, we encourage you to contact the surgeons of Jefferson Plastic Surgery. We will address your concerns as they emerge and help you undergo the treatment you need.

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Jefferson Plastic Surgery is located on the corner of 9th and Walnut streets in Center City, Philadelphia on the 15th floor of the Wills Eye Hospital Building.

Jefferson Plastic Surgery
840 Walnut Street - 15th Floor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Phone: (215) 625-6630
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