Every year, hundreds of thousands of American women get breast implants. The reason for this popular cosmetic surgery is typically to get a more feminine figure. While most implants are relatively safe, one particular type was recalled recently due to safety concerns.
These textured implants are in the minority in the United States as they make up less than 5% of all breast implants in the country. However, recalls of defective products should always be taken very seriously.
Allergan’s Implants and Cancer
If you have Allergan textured breast implants, you should know why they were recalled. Specifically, the company pulled its BioCell textured implants in the summer of 2019 after the Food and Drug Administration pushed for it to be removed from the market. The breast implants have been recalled due to the risk of rare cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma or BIA-ALCL.
As far back as 2011, the FDA first reported a potential relationship between the implants and BIA-ALCL. The agency noted evidence that showed that women who got breast implants were at a greater risk of developing the rare type of lymphoma. Further evidence showed that cancer occurred most often in those who received textured breast implants.
Over the course of eight years, there has been still more evidence to back up the FDA’s claim. Additionally, there has been a greater understanding of the link between Allergan’s textured breast implants and BIA-ALCL. While the FDA originally believed the risk of cancer was low, it turned out to be higher. Generally, these risks are higher with Allergan’s BioCell breast implants than with other textured implants.
About Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
If you have Allergan’s textured breast implants, it’s important to know about your risk for BIA-ALCL. It is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma rather than a type of breast cancer-specific to women with implants. Usually, it can be found in scar tissue and fluid near the implant itself, but cancer can spread to other areas as well.
Unfortunately, this type of cancer carries a risk of death if it’s not detected and treated early. To date, there have been 573 cases and 33 deaths from BIA-ALCL around the world, according to the FDA. Also, 481 cases have been linked with Allergan’s textured implants. 12 of the 13 women out of the 33 who died were known to have had Allergan breast implants [source].
Typically, cases occur a year or even several years after women have implant surgery. There are certain symptoms to look out for, such as pain or swelling near the implants. This is largely due to the buildup of fluid around the implant. It’s important to closely monitor yourself and your symptoms if you have received these implants.
Anyone who has been directly impacted by cancer should get their implants and the residing scar tissue removed. This surgery is more involved than the typical breast implant removal procedure.
What You Should Do if You Have Allergan’s Recalled Breast Implants
No matter what type of implants you have, the FDA urges you to have regular medical care and always follow up with your cosmetic or plastic surgeon. You should have your regular annual checkups with your primary care doctor as well. Always immediately contact your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts or if you have any concerns at all.
If you have Allergan’s recalled implants, the FDA states that you don’t necessarily need to have them removed if you’re not experiencing any symptoms. However, if you do experience symptoms, especially pain, swelling, lumps, or asymmetry of the breasts, you should seek immediate medical care with your cosmetic or plastic surgeon to have them removed.
It’s also wise to speak with your healthcare provider about both the benefits and risks associated with textured implants as opposed to other types of breast implants. Speaking with a personal injury attorney is a good idea as well as you may be eligible to file a claim for damages.