Breast Implants and Lymphoma
Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a very rare blood cancer that can occur with the use of textured breast implants. The risk of this cancer is very low (about 1 in 1,000 - 1 in 10,000). It is rarely fatal, with the majority of cases cured by removing the implant and excising the capsule around the implant.
BIA-ALCL usually involves a swelling of the breast, typically three to 14 years after the operation to insert the breast implant. This swelling is due to an accumulation of fluid. Less commonly, BIA-ALCL can take the form of a lump in the breast or a lump in the armpit. The first investigation commonly performed to exclude BIA-ALCL is a breast ultrasound.
The implants I commonly use are Mentor microtextured implants. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has not made any recommendations to withdraw Mentor implants from use.
Patients are welcome to get in touch with us to check the type of implant they have, although most patients will already have those details provided to them.
All patients are welcome to make an appointment to discuss these risks and how we can help you monitor your implants. Most of my patients with implants are already receiving regular checks with myself or another medical practitioner. If you have had your implants placed with another surgeon and you have a good relationship with them, it is advised that you return to see your original surgeon to discuss any concerns.
You can read more about this condition here:
BIA-ALCL is a rare condition
If you notice a swelling, lump or change to your implant, see your doctor or surgeon.
You do not need a textured implant removed, as the risk of BIA-ALCL is very low, but you may choose to have regular checks of your implant.