Textured Breast Implants Linked to Rare Cancer

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breast implant linked to rare cancer denver highlands ranch plastic surgeonIn recent findings from the Food & Drug Association (FDA), textured breast implants have been linked to anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), which is a cancer of the immune system. It should be noted that ALCL from breast implants is extremely rare, but the recent findings raise questions about the implants.

The FDA had been notified of 359 reports of this cancer from breast implants and was able to determine if the implants were textured or smooth in 231 cases. Of those, 203 were textured, compared to just 28 of the smooth implants. Researchers are unclear as to why textured implants have a higher correlation, but are using the results as a stepping stone to ask more questions. Around 300,000 women get breast implants each year, making it one of the most performed cosmetic procedures in the U.S.

While any reports of cancer are alarming, the FDA says that there is no need to change your routine medical care and follow-up. They say that women should be aware of the situation and watch for symptoms—such as pain or swelling around the implant—while keeping in mind that the cancer is incredibly rare.

Many plastic surgeons use textured implants to inhibit scar tissue growth around the implant, as well as for those who want a distinctive shape for their implant. Some researchers believe that the textured implants may allow bacteria to form on the surface of the implant, which may increase the risk of infection, cancer, or implant failure. As preliminary results show the correlation between textured implants and ALCL, researchers say that it is too early to determine what exactly the cause is.

According to the FDA, the majority of women who develop breast implant-associated ALCL—roughly 80 percent—will have a “spontaneous fluid collection,” which may show up as a sudden enlargement or swelling of the breast. About 40 percent will feel a mass or a lump.

It’s recommended to see your doctor if you notice something unusual. One part of the diagnosis is a screening test called CD30, which can help detect the onset of ALCL. The treatment for the vast majority of patients is surgery. If the disease progresses to the lymph nodes, chemotherapy is generally required.

If you have breast implants or are looking to get breast implants and would like to learn more about this issue, contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Zwiebel today at 303-470-3400 to schedule a consultation. We proudly serve Denver, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, and nearby areas of Colorado.