On January 26, 2011 the FDA released an advisory notice regarding the association of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) in women with breast implants. While ALCL is technically a type of lymphoma it appears to have a very benign course and the condition has been completely resolved by simply removing the breast implant and capsule. It is not a breast cancer. In the past 25 years only 34 cases have been reported in the world among an estimated 10 million+ implanted devices.
The American society of plastic surgeons and the American society of Aesthetic plastic surgery are working with the FDA in order to follow and better understand this rare condition.
So what does this mean for my patients considering breast enhancement? First and foremost it is important to note that the FDA has not changed the status or availability of breast implants. Patients who have them are not being encouraged to remove them and we continue to use them. I think it is something to be aware of as you make an informed decision. With or without implant I always encourage good self breast examination and mammography.
Because the condition is so rare, it is likely that most plastic surgeons will never see a case of it. There may be more of a risk of being struck by lightning. I always discuss all the risks and benefits of surgery with my patients. This new information will now be included, but it is perhaps the lowest risk of all. For more information the FDA link is: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm240000.htm
For those that have questions or concerns always feel free to contact my office to schedule a time to speak with me. We can talk over the phone or meet in person at one of my offices in Rockville, Maryland; Annapolis, Maryland; or McLean, Virginia.