What You Need to Know About BIA-ALCL

BIA-ALCL is a cancerous growth that affects the immune system. It primarily affects the lymphoma cells and is different from breast cancer. Dr. Lynch is conversant with East Windsor breast implants and the risks associated with Breast Implant-Associated – Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Read on to explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for BIA-ALCL tumors.

Do implants cause BIA-ALCL?

Statistics show the most significant factor causing cancer is textured breast implants. 

Textured implants have a rough surface resembling sandpaper. The roughness is a feature that ensures the shell adheres to the surrounding tissue. The micro-crevices are crucial for keeping the implants to remain in place. 

A rough texture is beneficial for supporting implants with a non-spherical shape. For example, a tear-drop shell is likely to shift out of place. 

People with a textured breast implant have a high chance of acquiring BIA-ALCL. The condition is rare in patients using smooth textured implants. 

How prevalent is BIA-ALCL?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there were approximately 700 cases of BIA-ALCL in 2019. About 33 people globally succumbed to the condition.

Nonetheless, the number is low compared to people receiving breast implants. According to studies, more than 300,000 breast augmentation procedures were done in 2019.

The risk of getting BIA-ALCL from a textured implant is approximately 1 in 400 cases. Out of the hundreds of cases, the FDA only identified 24 people with smooth texture implants.

Why do textured implants cause BIA-ALCL?

Researchers are still investigating the exact mechanism that leads to cancer that affects the immune system. But experts believe it develops from the bacteria that hide in the shell’s perforations. That means the implant has a higher surface area to volume ratio, which creates a habitat for microorganisms.

The characteristics of implants can vary considerably. Implant shells made from Silimied polyurethane have a 26 times risk of causing BIA-ALCL. Some brands like Allergan have had their implants recalled due to an elevated risk.

Studies also indicate a high risk for BIA-ALCL in some geographical clutters. For example, Australia has a ratio of 1 in 1000 cases of cancer, which is higher than in other regions.

The statistics suggest a trigger in those regions may be causing an infection. Microorganisms are more likely to thrive in the crevices of a textured implant. However, the research into risk factors is still ongoing.

What can you do if you have a textured implant?

The FDA requires plastic surgeons to return micro-textured implants from Allergan. If you have the implant, you don’t always have to remove it. But you should watch out for symptoms of BIA-ALCL and consult your doctor immediately.

The BIA-ALCL symptoms may include:

  • Lumps in your breasts
  • Redness and swelling around your armpits or breast
  • Skin rashes and pain
  • Hardening on parts of your breast

Your doctor will review your symptoms and your risk of cancer. Timely treatment is essential to stop the tumor from spreading to other parts of the body. Removing the implant could restore your health and prevent complications.

To discuss breast implants and BIA-ALCL, contact your provider at Matthew J. Lynch MD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in East Windsor.

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