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San Antonio Cosmetic SurgeryNew FDA Warning for Breast Implants

Fellow American College of Surgeons logo American Society of Plastic Surgeons logo American Board of Plastic Surgeons logo American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery logo Texas Medical Association logo Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons logo Bexar County Medical Society logo
Fellow American College of Surgeons logo American Society of Plastic Surgeons logo American Board of Plastic Surgeons logo American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery logo Texas Medical Association logo Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons logo Bexar County Medical Society logo

Recently the FDA issued a warning that certain types of breast implants are being related to cancer. This surfaced because recently around 500 women have been diagnosed with Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). The BIA-ALCL relationship has been researched for many years, but now the FDA is officially warning patients and doctors about this correlation. Breast implants are a very popular cosmetic procedure. Around 1.5 million women receive breast implants each year but, like any type of procedure, it is important to know the risks associated.


Risks Associated with Breast Implants

There a few potential risks associated with getting breast implants. As with any surgical procedure, there are anesthesia risks and surgical risks, these are something to always keep in mind when considering undergoing a procedure. Other possible risks are:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Implant leakage or rupture
  • Wrinkling of the skin
  • Changes in nipple sensation
  • Formation of tight scar around the implant


All of these risks should be discussed between you and your doctor so that you feel as comfortable and ready as possible before undergoing the surgery. The new finding of BIA-ALCL seems to occur anywhere between 1 in 3,000 women or 1 in 30,000 women. It is important to note that this cancer is not of the breast tissue itself but can be caused by the foreign object within the breast. It is readily curable if it is caught early enough. This correlation has been getting looked for around twenty years, within that twenty-year span there are less than two dozen confirmed deaths from this lymphoma.


What We Know About BIA-ALCL

Typically, the formation of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma has been found in the fluid and scar tissue surrounding the implant. Very few cases have found that this spreads through the rest of the body. It is also important to note that different implants have different risks associated with them. The FDA has found that patients with textured implants have gotten cancer more than other types of implants. It doesn't seem to be related to what the implant is filled with rather than the texture of the surface on the implant. If you are considering getting textured implants, it is important to talk to your doctor about the potential risks involved. The FDA is providing healthcare providers with ways to detect any signs of the lymphoma early before it becomes a bigger problem. The best practice to ensure that this lymphoma doesn't occur is by keeping a relationship with your doctor.


What Causes BIA-ALCL?

Though the causes of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma are still being researched, the main theory suggests that a combination of four factors are what causes this cancer. The factors are:

  • Textured Implants
  • Time
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Chronic bacterial-inflammation


What Are Your Options?

Implants are a great way to augment the breasts but need to be taken care of. Most breasts implants have a lifetime of 10-15 years, at this time they need to be taken out or exchanged with new implants. By keeping a relationship with your surgeon, they can check on your implants to make sure that no lumps form near or around the implants as well as making sure that no painful scar tissue is forming.


The experts on BIA-ALCL say that the first symptom is usually swelling of the breasts after receiving the breast implants. The average year for patients to notice any early signs are about eight years after receiving an implant. If you experience these symptoms the talk to your doctor about your options. Other ways that breast implants might impact you is if an implant ruptures or tight scar tissue is formed.


Currently, the FDA is not recommending the routing prophylactic removal of textured implants, nor is there a recall of these implants. Rather, they continue to encourage careful observation and follow-up with your plastic surgeon to assess the implant for serum or changes. If surgery is needed, then a breast implant revision or removal may be required. A Breast Implant Revision procedure can be done to exchange the implants for new ones which may help with these symptoms and will also remove all scar tissue from around the implant. This is a good option to keep in mind to avoid any future risks or complications.


As always, it is very important to do at-home screenings and go into the doctor for screenings to check for lumps around the breast tissue. This is the best way to catch any early signs of a type of cancer forming. Even patients with Breast Implants can benefit from these types of screenings.


Consult With Our Doctor

The BIA-ALCL is still a newly found risk that is being studied. Doctors around the U.S. including your team at San Antonio Cosmetic Surgery want to make sure that our patients are taken care of. That is why asking questions and being fully informed about the potential side effects is extremely important.  If you are looking into getting breast implants or currently have breast implants, come into our office to make sure that your implants are being taken care of. Call the office today for an appointment.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation with the renowned San Antonio plastic surgeon and breast & body specialist Dr. Delio Ortegon. Take your first steps to a more beautiful you.

4910 Golden Quail Suite 140, San Antonio, TX 78240

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