Usually, when we have conversations about breast augmentation, the tone is light and excited. Recently, that has changed. The FDA recall of certain textured breast implants has caused a lot of unnecessary fear among women who have breast implants and those who have been considering finally getting the shape they have always wanted. The United States FDA recall has been a major development in plastic surgery. However, it does not have to be an event that causes you to question your decision nor your future. Here, we discuss details of the breast implant recall and what it means for you.
Specifics that Matter
FDA recalls happen because sufficient safety risk related to a product has been confirmed. In this case, what the FDA has determined is that there is an increased risk for breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) for patients who received certain BioCell textured breast implants made by Allergan. The recalled implants are contained within the Natrelle line of devices. Saline, silicone, and highly cohesive anatomically shaped silicone implants have been recalled. Natrelle 133 tissue expanders are also included in the recall.
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma is not breast cancer. The disease affects the immune system and originates in the fluid that accumulates around the breast implant. Usually, one breast is affected. Signs of BIA-ALCL include swelling, pain, itching, rash, or a mass in the breast. Women with these symptoms are encouraged to schedule a thorough consultation and examination with a qualified plastic surgeon. The presence of these symptoms alone does not confirm BIA-ALCL. Diagnosis may be confirmed through a fluid sample and diagnostic imaging.
Should Breast Implants Be Removed?
The question that is on many patients’ minds at this time is “should I have my breast implants removed?” The truth is, that is a personal answer that may be different for everyone.
- Breast implant removal is not medically necessary unless symptoms have developed.
- BIA-ALCL is highly treatable. In many cases, the disease is eliminated by removing both breast implants as well as the capsular tissue around them.
- The risk of BIA-ALCL is that cancer cells will spread to the lymph nodes. If this happens, chemotherapy may be prescribed to successfully treat disease.
- Over 90% of treated cases remain disease-free three years after prescribed care.
- In the absence of symptoms, patients are advised to continue normal breast exams and mammograms.
Your peace of mind matters. If you have questions about your breast implants, call our Miami office at 305.279.4700. We can conduct a consultation and breast exam to assess your risk and general breast health.