Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently updated the public information on its website about breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

The aesthetic medical community has been aware of this disease for quite some time, and the FDA has been providing updates since 2011.

BIA-ALCL is a rare form of lymphoma that develops adjacent to breast implants

  • Because it is rare, it is difficult to be certain about the absolute risk.
  • The current risk is estimated to be 1 in 30,000. However, to date there has never been a documented case in a patient with only a smooth implant.

BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer

  • The risk of developing breast cancer for women is about 1 in 8.

What are the symptoms of BIA-ALCL in women with breast implants?

  • The most common symptom is a persistent swelling of the breast.
  • The swelling of the breast is due to fluid accumulating around the implant.
  • It can also include other symptoms, such as a lump in the breast or armpit.
  • These symptoms develop between 3 and 14 years following the insertion of breast implants, and most commonly around eight years.

Are all implant types associated with BIA-ALCL?

  • ALCL has not been identified in women who have only had smooth implants.
  • The disease is associated with textured implants.

How is BIA-ALCL diagnosed?

  • In patients with fluid collection around their implants, an ultrasound should be performed to exclude the diagnosis.
  • At the time of ultrasound examination a needle is inserted to drain some fluid, which is then tested.

How is BIA-ALCL treated?

  • Most women who are diagnosed with this disease are treated by the removal of both implants, and the fibrous capsule around them. This is the complete treatment. All known cases where there were no delays in diagnosis have resulted in 100% cure at this time.

Can breast implants be inserted again if I have BIA-ALCL?

  • Yes. Smooth implant have been replace at a delayed interval in treated patients as well as immediately in some cases.

Where can I get more information?