ASPS Statement for women with breast implants

Women concerned by reports of associated risks with breast implants should monitor their breasts but removal of the implants is not recommended in the absence of any changes.

Textured breast implants have been linked to Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) which is a rare form of lymphatic cancer.

BIA-ALCL (Breast implant-acquired Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma) is not breast cancer.  Cancer cells typically grow in the fluid (seroma) and scar tissue (capsule) that develops around the implant.

The risk of developing BIA-ALCL depends on the type of implant and ranges between one in 2500 and one in 25,000.  To date there have been 76 known cases in Australia. There are almost no known cases of BIA-ALCL associated with smooth implants.

The greatest risk is associated with macro-textured implants which are no longer used in Australia after their use was banned by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in 2019.

BIA-ALCL usually develops between 3 and 14 years after the procedure with the average time to diagnosis of 8 years.

ASPS encourages women to be vigilant but not unduly alarmed. BIA-ALCL is very rare and it is curable if detected.

What to look for:

Women should monitor their breasts for any changes.  In particular they should consult their GP or surgeon if they detect any swelling around the breast, which could be caused by the fluid surrounding the implant.

Other symptoms may include pain in the breast, redness or a rash or a lump in the breast or armpit.

The TGA does not recommend removal of breast implants in asymptomatic women.

ASPS recommends womenmake sure they are registered with the Australian Breast Device Registry. Data collection through the Australian Breast Device Registry (ABDR) is an essential part of research into this disease.

Contact: abdr@monash.edu

Australian Specialist Plastic Surgeons have been working collaboratively with international researchers as well as the TGA to ensure risk to women with implants is minimised.

For further information:

www.tga.gov.au/hubs/breast-implants

www.tga.gov.au/breast-implant-associated-cancer-or-bia-alcl

www.tga.gov.au/consumer-fact-sheet-recall-allergan-biocell-breast-implants

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