The possibility of an association between breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma—a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma—was first recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 and has since been further evaluated.1
Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) has been noted to occur more commonly in those who have undergone placement of textured surface implants as opposed to those implants with smooth surfaces.
The FDA currently concurs with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) designation of BIA-ALCL as a rare T-cell lymphoma that can develop following breast implants.” Although rare, this form of cancer is most commonly found during implant revisions for late onset and persistent seroma development, and exactly how many implant patients have been affected by this cancer is not fully understood.2
The FDA reports that this inability to provide exact case numbers is due to worldwide reporting limitations and lacking global implant sales data. Continued data collection efforts are currently underway.
Currently, the FDA recommends that healthcare providers:
Not perform prophylactic breast implant removal in asymptomatic patients (no pain, lumps, swelling, or asymmetry).
Preoperatively discuss the risk/benefit profile of implant type with patients and provide patients with manufacturers’ labeling and educational materials.
Consider BIA-ALCL in patients with late onset, persistent seroma, capsular contracture or masses, and refer to a specialist as appropriate.
Develop an individualized treatment plan in coordination with the patient's multidisciplinary care team. Consider current clinical practice guidelines, such as those from the The Plastic Surgery Foundation or the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) when choosing your treatment approach.3
Report confirmed BIA-ALCL cases to the FDA and case reports to the PROFILE Registry.4
Have any of your patients experienced cancer-related issues associated with breast implants?
US Food and Drug Administration. Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). 2017 Mar 23.
US Food and Drug Administration. Breast Implants: Update - Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). 2017 Mar 21.
The Plastic Surgery Foundation. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): A Guide to Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.
The Plastic Surgery Foundation. Patient Registry and Outcomes for Breast Implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) Etiology and Epidemiology (PROFILE). 2017.
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