Melbourne Plastic Surgery Blog

Melbourne Plastic Surgery Blog

Latest update on textured breast implants and ALCL

Thursday, August 01, 2019

This information has been summarised from the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recent statement on Breast Implant Associated ALCL.

Understandably, a number of patients with breast implants have been alarmed by the increase of coverage in the news regarding Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) following the announcement that the TGA were reviewing the safety and ongoing availability of textured breast implants in Australia.

Here's a summary of current information and what you need to know:

  • The TGA announced on 11 July 2019 that it had completed its review and laboratory assessment of textured breast implants on the Australian market.
  • The next steps are either a proposal to cancel or a proposal to suspend certain types of textured implants by specific manufacturers. 
  • You can find the full list of implants in question on the TGA’s website.
  • It is important to note that BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer. 
  • It is a rare type of lymphoma that develops adjacent to breast implants, usually as a swelling of the breast 3-14 years after insertion.  This swelling is due to fluid building up in the fibrous capsule that surrounds the implant and does not develop in the breast tissue itself.  It can also present as a swelling or lump in the breast or armpit.
  • BIA-ALCL is a rare condition, with 92 patients confirmed in Australia and New Zealand.  Due to its rarity, it's difficult to be sure about the exact level of risk of developing this disease.  The risk of developing ALCL with textured implants differs with different grades of texture from one in 2,800 to one in 80,000.  Comparatively, breast cancer occurs in one in every eight women.
  • In the case of BIA-ALCL, the key to effective treatment is early diagnosis and specialist treatment.
  • In the early stages, BIA-ALCL is slow-growing and curable by surgery alone.
  • The cause is currently unknown but Australian and New Zealand Plastic Surgeons, along with local and international research organisations are working tirelessly to find the cause.
  • BIA-ALCL can occur in both breast reconstruction cases and cosmetic cases, as well as affecting both saline and silicone implants. 
  • At this time, there is no evidence to suggest the benefit of routine removal of breast implants if you do not have symptoms of this condition.

What should you do if you are concerned?

  • If your surgery was performed at Brighton Plastic Surgery, please ring us and we can inform you about what implants you have, and we can guide you through the clinical review process. If your surgery was conducted elsewhere and you are unsure of the type of breast implant used in your surgery, details will be in your original surgeon's medical files, and they will be able to inform you if it is a textured implant.
  • If you are unable to contact your original surgeon, please see your GP who can get you in contact with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon for a full clinical evaluation.  It would be recommended that this occur in any patient with breast implants, who are exhibiting symptoms of this condition.

We recommend that you click here to read the full statement from the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

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