Update on breast implants and ALCL

With a recent news article about breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), this rare disease has gotten more notice.  Here are the important facts: BIA-ALCL has been recognized since 2011, and  to date there have been 359 medical device reports made to the FDA (though these are unconfirmed, and may be duplicates).  To give you perspective, around 550,000 breast implants are placed per year. BIA-ALCL is associated with textured breast implants, and the lifetime risk is 1:30,000 women who have these kinds of implants. Most implants are smooth (over 80% of implants), the texture is added for anatomic-shaped implants to help prevent rotation and displacement. The recently popular anatomic cohesive gel implants (“Gummy bear”) are generally textured; only one company, Mentor, has started to offer smooth anatomic cohesive gel implants. When treated appropriately, 93% of patients with BIA-ALCL are disease-free. What to look for: swelling suggesting a fluid collection around the implant, more than one year after implant placement. If you have any concerns, please do see your breast or plastic surgeon.  Here is more information from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Having a breast reduction and never looking back

Over at Byrdie, one woman has written her account of having breast reduction surgery: “I felt like I finally recognized the person looking back at me. I was confident in a way I hadn’t ever been before. It didn’t have as much to do with the way I looked, but more about the way I felt from minute to minute. I didn’t have back pain or annoying marks from my bra straps. I didn’t feel like I had to cover up my body—which was something I had gotten very good at during the years prior.” Plastic surgeons generally agree that their breast reduction patients are their happiest!  If you’re having back pain and have large breasts, talk to your primary care doctor about a referral.