What You Need to Know about Textured Breast Implants and Their Relation to Cancer

In July 2019, A Breast Implant Recall was voluntarily initiated by Allergan who announced the breast implant recall to recall all of their textured breast implants and textured breast expanders. This followed the discovery of an increase in the incidence of breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma or BIA ALCL. Most of the implants implicated are the Allergan textured biocell implants. These cancers are rare occurring with an incidence of one in 3500 to one in 30,000 and most occur after 8 years.

The lifetime risk of developing BIA-ALCL, from epidemiological studies and implant sales data from the U.S., Canada, Netherlands and Australia, ranges from 1:1,000 to 1:30,000 with textured implants. There appears to be some variability in risk depending on the type of implant texturing, with Allergan Biocell and polyurethane brands having disproportionately higher risks. It is rare to encounter this cancer in patients with textured implants in place less than eight years. Also, most cases of BIA-ACLC are associated with fluid (seroma) and firmness around the implants.

Patients with breast implants that fall under this breast implant recall should definitely consult with their plastic surgeon to determine whether or not their breast implants are textured. Current recommendations in patients who are having no firmness nor symptoms with their textured implants is to do nothing but to have their plastic surgeons follow them on a regular basis. If symptoms or firmness develop, patients should consult with their plastic surgeons.

Dr Lewis Obi has more experience with breast implants than the majority of his colleagues. He is one of the first U.S. plastic surgeons to use saline implants early in his career. He is still one of the few plastic surgeons to perform areolar scarless augmentations and laser assisted scarless implant breast lifts. Under this breast implant recall, Allergan will upgrade patients who undergo replacement of their textured breast implants but will not cover costs of anesthesia, operating room expenses, etc. They will however contribute to these costs if one or both implants are ruptured. Dr Obi is performing complimentary consultations for all patients with breast implants.