Allergan recalled all of its BIOCELL textured implants late this summer because the FDA has flagged a series of reports that the implants are causing cancer in patients worldwide.  This includes Natrelle saline-filled, Natrelle silicone-filled, Natrelle anatomically shaped (used post-mastectomy) as well as Tissue expanders (also used post-mastectomy).  Please see this link for all of the specific implants that have been recalled.

The textured surface has been tied to 481 cases of implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) which is a type of non-hodgkin’s lymphoma.  There have been 573 cases of this lymphoma worldwide and 33 deaths… and counting…

The risk of getting anaplastic lymphoma from an Allergan textured implant is 6 times the risk compared to implants from other manufacturers.  Although the focus is on the textured implants right now, there have been reports of this lymphoma with smooth implants, too.

Learn more about this lymphoma, symptoms and what to do if you have these implants…READ ON

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) can present in several ways.  It can appear in the skin, the lymph nodes or in organs.  The skin lesions are typically raised, red lesions that do not go away and may ulcerate and itch.  They can be solitary or multiple.  In regards to this cancer with breast implants it usually occurs in the fibrous capsule that surrounds the implant and may spread to the lymph nodes near the breast.

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Symptoms of ALCL :

Swelling or fluid in the breast/around the implant *most common

Pain in the breast or surrounding area

Redness around the implant

Lumps in the breast or surrounding tissue

Change in size of one breast or change of shape

It typically takes at least two years after implant surgery for symptoms to start appearing.

Diagnosis requires looking specifically for ALCL.  Fresh fluid and biopsy of the capsule should be sent to pathology using special stains.

Currently, the treatment includes removing the entire capsule and implant as well as any scar tissue surrounding the implant.  If it has spread to the lymph nodes then chemotherapy may be recommended.

If you have these implants, the FDA is currently not recommending taking them out if you are asymptomatic.  Have a very high degree of awareness and suspicion though for any unusual symptoms!

If you are considering having implants then ask your physician which implants they use and make sure they are not textured or high risk.  Keep in mind, even though the reports are focusing on textured implants there have been cases of ALCL associated with the smooth silicone & saline filled implants, too!

I think there will be many more cases coming forward so stay tuned to the reports.

To your health,