Breast Implants and Lymphoma

Breast implants associated with a type of lymphoma

(RxWiki News) If you are considering breast augmentation, odds are you have many questions about possible risks. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned about one potentially serious risk.

Breast implants approved by the FDA undergo extensive testing to ensure they are safe and effective. Despite this testing, all breast implants are associated with some risks. These risks include breast pain, additional surgeries and rupture.

Now, the FDA is warning that breast implants have been tied to a risk of a certain type of cancer. This cancer is called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

This possible link was first identified in 2011. In March of 2018, the FDA reported that it was aware of 414 total cases of BIA-ALCL. The lifetime risk of BIA-ALCL for patients with textured breast implants ranged from 1 in 3,817 to 1 in 30,000.

“The FDA has been closely tracking the relationship between breast implants and a rare type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma since we first identified this possible association," said Dr. Binita Ashar, director of the division of surgical devices in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in a press release. "We’ve been working to gather additional information to better characterize and quantify the risk so that patients and providers can have more informed discussions about breast implants.”

Breast implants are considered medical devices. They are implanted under the breast tissue to increase breast size or to rebuild breast tissue after damage, as well as after surgery to remove the breast (mastectomy). Breast implants are also used to correct or improve earlier breast surgery.

There are two types of breast implants: saline-filled implants and silicone gel-filled implants. Both are approved for sale in the US.

If you are considering breast implants, remember these five tips:

1) Realize that breast implants are not lifetime devices. The longer breast implants are in place, the greater the chance that complications may develop. And some complications will require more surgery. This means that, at some point, almost everyone who has had breast augmentation will have to have additional surgeries.

2) Review safety and effectiveness data for each type of breast implant to ensure you are choosing an implant that is right for you. Ask your health care provider for the patient information from the manufacturer.

3) Communicate openly and often with your surgeon. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

4) Learn about long-term risks associated with breast implants.

5) Monitor your breast implants as instructed by your health care provider. If you identify any unusual signs or symptoms, notify your health care provider immediately. The FDA recommends that people with silicone implants undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) screenings to detect silent ruptures three years after their surgery and every two years after that.