People often have questions about the safety of cosmetic surgery, particularly breast augmentation surgery. Past issues with silicone breast implants continue to linger even years after FDA approval. A new question of safety has arisen due to FDA findings about anaplastic large cell lymphoma and breast implants.

Dr. Paul Pin and the team at his Dallas, TXplastic surgery center consider the potential link between textured breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

What Is Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This cancer is also a subtype of T cell lymphoma. ALCL affects a person’s lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell. This causes problems with the lymphatic system as well as issues with a person’s general wellness.

ALCL makes up about 16 percent of all T cell lymphomas; ALCL comprises just 1 percent of all non-Hodgkin lymphomas. It’s most common among people who are just 24 years old and younger.

Thankfully, ALCL is treatable, and the survival rates are high when it is detected early.

How Is ALCL Linked to Textured Breast Implants?

While ALCL may not be caused by textured breast implants per se, there is a correlation between having textured breast implants and then subsequently developing ALCL.

The FDA received 414 medical device reports as of September 30, 2017 regarding patients with breast implants who developed ALCL. Of the 414 reports, 272 noted the type of surface texture of the breast implant. Of this number, 242 implants had textured surfaces while just 30 implants were smooth.

In addition, 413 of the 414 the FDA medical device reports contained information on the composition/filling of the breast implant. In 234 cases, the ALCL occurred in patients who had silicone breast implants; in 179 cases the ALCL occurred in women with saline breast implants.

Symptoms of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma

If you have breast implants, it’s important that you consider the following warnings signs of ALCL:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Fevers
  • Reddish bumps on your skin

Patients who notice any combination of these symptoms should speak with a doctor immediately. As we mentioned already, early detection and treatment is the key to surviving ALCL.

Should Women with Textured Breast Implants Be Concerned?

While ALCL may appear relatively rare given the sheer number of breast enlargement surgeries performed in a given year, the risk of any health problem associated with surgical procedures must be taken seriously. For patients who currently have textured breast implants, consult your physician for advice on what you should do.

A revision surgery may be recommended to remove the current breast implants and replace them with new, safer ones. This can potentially reduce the risk of ALCL in the long run.

What This Means for Breast Augmentation Moving Forward

First and foremost, our focus has always been on patient health and wellness. Before performing breast augmentation surgery, we will discuss the possible health risks with patients in full detail. We will offer honest advice on how to achieve a patient’s goals in the safest manner possible.

In addition, we will continue to monitor new findings from the FDA and other health organizations. With more data, we’ll be better able to determine the safest possible method of performing breast augmentation surgery.

Learn More about Breast Augmentation Surgery

If you would like more information about breast augmentation surgery and whether or not it’s right for you, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon. Dr. Paul Pin and his team will answer your questions and address the health concerns that you may have.