BIA ALCL is a rare and highly treatable form of lymphoma that can form around 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.
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 10,000. 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.
Most cases of BIA-ALCL are successfully treated by the removal of the implant and the surrounding capsule. Both implants will be removed, even if ALCL is only present in one breast, this is to eliminate the threat of ALCL developing in the other breast. The patient can choose to have new implants inserted into the breasts if they wish, but this cannot be completed until 12 months following the removal of the implants.
En Bloc Capsulectomy
En Bloc breast removal involves removing both the implant together with the surrounding scar tissue that forms due to the presence of the implant. This scar tissue is a natural bodily reaction to the insertion of a foreign object in the body. This scarring hardens forming a “capsule” around the implant. This is often the preferred option for patients who want any trace of their implants removed, however, it can be a quite invasive procedure and is not suitable for all patients.
Recovery times will depend on the type of procedure undertaken and every patient is unique. Typically, recovery periods for breast removal procedures are shorter than for the original breast augmentation surgery. Most patients are required to spend at least 1-2 nights in hospital under observation to ensure there are no immediate complications. You will need to spend up to two weeks at home resting before going back to work, but you’ll most likely be able to return to your usual exercise routine within a month.
Associate Professor Dean White has developed a leading reputation over the years for his skill and ability to perform a wide range of cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures. He is committed to providing the highest quality of care for his patients and servicing their unique goals.
Implant Removal with Associate Professor Dean White
Mr White is committed to excellence in surgical practice, ensuring he stays up to date with the latest techniques and research. His ongoing development and dedication to research allows him to advance his skills and consistently improve his services moving forward. He strives to run a modern surgical practice – taking the time to explain complex surgical procedures, discussing “pros and cons” during the decision-making process and providing clear written information about surgery and costs. Ultimately, he believes that being respectful of patient concerns and wishes leads to both excellent surgical results and a practice of high integrity.