Concerned About My Breast Implants

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There have been recent reports on a possible link between textured breast implants and cancer. The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating about 400 reports. It is very important to note that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports over 400,000 breast implant procedures now take place every year so these incidents have come from a very small number of the more than 5 million women who have had breast implants globally.

Specifically, after several years of gathering data, the FDA now says there may be a link between textured breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma, often referred to as ALCL. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgery Foundation are each making a list of implant patients who develop ALCL. They have also started a website devoted to the matter, where they provide ongoing updates.

In the U.S., textured breast implants make up about 12% of the market, with smooth-finish implants used in the great majority (88%) of procedures. In my practice, almost all of my procedures have utilized smooth-finish implants, even before these studies became known.

The most common symptom of BIA-ALCL is swelling of the breast. On average, this swelling develops eight years after receiving the implant, but the range is 2-28 years. A lump in the breast or armpit may also appear. Although percentages are very small, I recommend women with textured implants see their doctor, for their own peace of mind. If you are not sure what type of implants you have, your doctor has that information. ALCL is treatable with early detection, so it is better to be in control of your future.

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Dr. Paul Vanek

Trusted plastic surgeon, sculptor, biochemist and researcher

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