Jul 25, 2019
An important message from Dr. Valerie Lemaine:
I would like to remind all of our patients who have had breast surgery with implants, either reconstructive or aesthetic – to maintain regular, yearly follow-up appointments with Dr. Valerie Lemaine.
On July 24, 2019, the implant device company Allergan issued a recall on BioCell textured implants and tissue expanders. This was done based on concerns that textured implants are associated with a very rare type of cancer called BIA-ALCL (Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma) that can occur in and around the tissues around a textured breast implant.
It is important to stress that BIA-ALCL is extremely rare, even if someone had a breast reconstruction or a breast augmentation with textured implants or tissue expanders. To date, 573 cases of BIA-ALCL have been described worldwide, which includes 33 deaths. This is out of approximately 25 million women in the world who have breast implants. Fortunately, if caught at the first sign of swelling, BIA-ALCL is curable by removing the implant and the connective tissue capsule that forms around the implant.
So what does this mean for you? Currently, given how rare BIA-ALCL is, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend removing textured implants for prevention only. Instead, it is important to follow-up regularly with your plastic surgeon; either with Dr. Lemaine, or another board-certified plastic surgeon. (If you need help finding a board-certified plastic surgeon near you, please visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website at https://find.plasticsurgery.org).
What should you be on the lookout for? Signs and symptoms of BIA-ALCL include swelling, pain, asymmetry, or lumps or masses. Though gradual changes in breast shape do occur over time, any changes that seem abnormal, sudden, or unusual should prompt a call to our office so we can schedule you to come in for a check-up. The vast majority of the time, these findings do not represent anything serious; however, it is always wise to be vigilant and follow-up.
Your health and safety are and always have been the most important thing to me, as your plastic surgeon. Please feel welcome to call the office any time with questions or concerns. If you currently have silicone breast implants, textured or smooth, please ensure you have a regular follow-up visit scheduled with Dr. Lemaine.
We look forward to seeing you at your next visit,
Valerie Lemaine, M.D., M.P.H., FRCS(C), FACS