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Textured Breast Implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma: Understanding the Link

When performing breast augmentation surgery, a plastic surgeon can select different types of breast implants that best meet the aesthetic goals of the patient. Tailoring each surgery to the patient is how our Dallas, TX practice achieves the most ideal results each time.

Yet there is some concerning news from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that breast augmentation patients should keep in mind. While instances are rare, it appears that the use of textured breast implants can increase the risk of patients developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Let’s cover the basics and what this means for patients.

What Is Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)?

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

This cancer affects white blood cells known as a lymphocyte. As ALCL spreads through the body, it can adversely affect the lymph nodes and result in a number of problems related to your immune system and general wellness. The condition is most common in people age 24 and younger. With proper diagnosis and treatment, the survival rates of ALCL are high.

Findings by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Updated findings by the FDA called into question the health risks associated with textured breast implants.

The FDA has received 414 medical device reports related to breast implants and ALCL over the years. This included the deaths of 9 patients as a result of ALCL. Of the 414 reports, 272 reports included details on the texture of the implants: 242 were textured implants, and just 30 were smooth implants.

Additionally, the FDA noted that ALCL was more likely with silicone breast implants (234 reports) than with saline breast implants (179 reports).

Signs and Symptoms of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma

Here are some common signs and symptoms of ALCL that patients with breast implants should be aware of:

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

If any of these symptoms are present, be sure to speak with your physician as soon as possible. As we mentioned above, with early diagnosis, ALCL can be successfully treated.

Should I Get My Textured Breast Implants Replaced?

If you are concerned about the potential risk of ALCL from your textured and/or silicone breast implants, you should consult with your physician about having your implants replaced or removed.

Your doctor can offer informed advice about your health and wellness based on your personal medical history. Your doctor may also consider your family’s medical history if relatives have suffered from ALCL in the past.

What Future Breast Augmentation Patients Should Know

While the risk of ALCL is still generally low given the number of breast augmentations performed each year, these numbers do give us pause. We will go over these risks with patients so that they know what dangers they may face after undergoing surgery.

Being upfront and transparent about these risks allows patients to make better choices when it comes to their aesthetic goals and their overall health and wellness. We’re here to provide information and support.

Contact Dr. Mark Deuber

For more information about health concerns related to breast implants, contact an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon. We will work with you to address your concerns and make your breast augmentation surgery as safe as possible.

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