Breast Implant Associated ALCL

BIA ALCL is a rare and highly treatable form of lymphoma that can form around breast implants.

ALCL and Breast Implants

BIA-ALCL most frequently occurs in patients who have textured breast implants. This lymphoma is not a type of breast cancer, but a cancer of the immune system. BIA-ALCL has been found with both saline and silicone implants, and in both breast reconstruction and cosmetic patients. Currently, there have not been any cases of confirmed BIA-ALCL that involve a smooth implant.

ALCL Treatment Melbourne

 BIA-ALCL Treatment Melbourne

What is it caused by?

Evidence tends to suggest that BIA-ALCL is caused by a long-term inflammatory response to bacteria that becomes present within the lymphoma and around the implants. There may also be genetic factors that can come into play. 

What are the risks of BIA-ALCL?

As the disease is so rare, it can be quite difficult to provide an accurate estimate of risk. Current expert opinion suggests that the risk of ALCL is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 80,000. Current data indicates that 95% of cases of breast implant associated ALCL occurs between 3 years to 14 years after the implant.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom of BIA-ALCL is an excessive build-up of fluid around the breast implant, which can result in pain, swelling or lumps in the breast or armpit. Symptoms can usually occur within three to fourteen years after the initial implant placement. Common symptoms can include breast enlargement, asymmetry, pain, a lump in the breast or armpit.


If you notice any swelling of an implanted breast, it is always best to see your doctor. You will then be sent off for an ultrasound scan to see if the swelling is due to a collection of fluid. If fluid is found in the area, then it will be sent off to the laboratory for analysis. Majority of fluid collections are not ALCL, but the laboratory will be able to determine the results. If you have more questions, consult our plastic surgeon A/Prof White located in Melbourne.

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