The FDA requested that the pharmaceutical company Allergan recall its textured breast implant products after discovering a connection between Allergan’s implants and a rare form of cancer, Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). In response, Allergan issued a worldwide recall of all of its textured breast implants and implant-related products.
What Is A Textured Breast Implant?
Allergan manufactures BIOCELL breast implants which include a uniquely textured shell-like surface to prevent the implant from slipping and minimizes scar tissue around the implants.
What Is BIA-ALCL and How Does A Textured Breast Implant Cause It?
Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is not breast cancer but actually, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) that grows within the scar tissue surrounding the implants and may spread throughout the body. BIA-ALCL grows slowly and can usually be treated with surgery to remove the implant and surrounding scar tissue. However, some patients may require chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Textured breast implants have a rougher surface intended to reduce an implant’s movement but may also lead to the development of cancer cells due to the rough surface causing inflation and irritation to the surrounding tissue.
How Do I Know If I Have BIA-ALCL?
Symptoms of BIA-ALCL Include:
- Breast asymmetry
What Is The FDA Saying?
As of May 2019, the FDA said that the risks of BIA-ALCL in textured breast implants did not warrant a national ban. However, as of July 24, 2019 the FDA has issued an updated statement explaining that new data shows a direct link between cancer and specifically textured breast implants manufactured by Allergan.
The data has concluded that more than 80% of 573 lymphoma cases have been linked to Allergan implants and 33 cases have resulted in the patient’s death. In addition, risk of BIA-ALCL with Allergan BIOCELL textured implants is approximately six times the risk of BIA-ALCL with textured implants from other manufacturers marketing in the U.S.
FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement regarding the textured breast implants that, “Although the overall incidence of BIA-ALCL appears to be relatively low, once the evidence indicated that a specific manufacturer’s product appeared to be directly linked to significant patient harm, including death, the FDA took action to alert the firm to new evidence indicating a recall is warranted to protect women’s health.”
How Common Is BIA-ALCL From Textured Breast Implants?
In countries such as France, Canada, and Australia BIA-ALCL from textured breast implants is common due to the products’ domination of the breast implant market by up to 80%. As a result, regulatory bodies similar to the FDA in these nations have already instituted bans on textured breast implants.
However, in the U.S., only 10% of all breast implants are textured breast implants. More specifically, macro-textured implants (the type Allergan manufacturers) are found in less than 5% of the breast implants marketed in the U.S.
Which Products Are Affected?
In response to the FDA uncovering cases of BIA-ALCL and BIA-ALCL-related deaths worldwide and the FDA’s request for a recall of all BIOCELL textured breast implants and tissue expanders marketed in the U.S., Allergan voluntarily issued a worldwide recall of their products.
Allergan’s textured breast implant recall includes:
- Allergan Natrelle Saline-Filled Breast Implants
- Allergan Natrelle Silicone-Filled Textured Breast Implants
- Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped Silicone-Filled Breast Implants
- Natrelle 133 Plus Tissue Expander
- Natrelle 133 Tissue Expander with Suture Tabs
What Should I Do Now?
- If you do not have symptoms from your breast implant, the FDA does not recommend having the implant removed due to low risk of cancer. However, speak to your health care provider about your concerns
- Know the symptoms of BIA-ALCL and monitor the area around your breast implants
- If you experience any symptoms, speak to your health care provider immediately to be evaluated
- If your BIA-ALCL is confirmed by your health care provider, undergo implant and scar tissue removal surgery
- Keep a record of the device manufacturer, device identifier, and implant model name (this information may be found on a patient device card from your surgeon or can be requested from your surgeon or the facility where your procedure was performed)
- Know that most BIA-ALCL cases occur years after breast implant procedure
- Talk with your surgeon regarding your risk of developing BIA-ALCL
What Should I Do If I Was Diagnosed With BIA-ALCL After Receiving Textured Breast Implants?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL after using an Allergan textured breast implant, contact the Minnesota Cancer Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw. With over 30 years of experience fighting corporate negligence, we deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve.