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


According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), breast augmentation surgery is the most popular cosmetic procedure among women. Nearly 300,000 breast augmentation procedures are performed each year.

Unfortunately, breast implants do not last forever, and several complications can result from the procedure, leading many women to remove their implants.

Breast implant removal is a reversal of breast augmentation. If you have breast implants, keep reading to learn more about breast implant removal, what the surgery involves, and why you might want to consider this procedure.

Breast Implant Removal with Total Capsulectomy

In addition to removing the implant, Dr. Barr also performs a total capsulectomy (removal of the capsule). The capsule is the scar tissue that develops around the implant.

Reasons to Remove Breast Implants

 Women choose to reverse their breast augmentation procedures for several reasons:

  • Personal reasons: An individual may feel that augmentation was not the right choice for them or that the implants don’t have the right shape or size
  •  Implant complications such as implant deflation or rupture
  • Complications such as infection, silicone leakage, or tension bands asymmetry
  •  Capsular contraction, which is the tightening of the scar tissue around the implant
  • Breast implant illness (BII)
  • Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

BII and BIA-ALCL are potentially debilitating conditions. In most cases, healthcare providers recommend a capsulectomy en bloc to mitigate the risks and side-effects associated with BII and BIA-ALCL.

Breast Implant Illness

Breast implant illness is a cluster of symptoms that some women experience after undergoing breast reconstruction or augmentation surgery with breast implants. Any implant can result in BII, including implants containing saline and silicone.

BII affects individuals in different ways, but some symptoms generally include but not limited to 

  • Hormonal problems 
  • Joint pain 
  • Vision issues
  • Sleep problems and chronic fatigue
  • Concentration and memory difficulties
  •  Anxiety and depression
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Skin conditions such as rashes
  • Hair loss
  •  Headaches
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  •  Gastrointestinal health issues

There appears to be a link between BII symptoms and those of autoimmune and connective tissue disorders such as scleroderma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. To date, the medical community has not scientifically established this association, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize BII as an official medical diagnosis.

However, the administration is increasingly paying attention to BII and looking for ways to help women make informed decisions.

BIA-ALCL

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a type of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma that develops inside the scar tissue and fluid surrounding the implant. BIA-ALCL is a rare form of cancer, but it is not the same as breast cancer.

In 80% of cases, BIA-ALCL presents as a late seroma 8 to 10 years after breast augmentation. A seroma is the collection of fluid around the breast implant. Other symptoms of BIA-ALCL may include palpable mass, lymphadenopathy, skin rash, or fever.

However, the lack of a seroma does not rule out the condition. BIA-ALCL can also present as a late-developing capsular contraction with evidence of swelling, rupture, or fluid collection around the implant.

In most cases of BIA-ALCL, textured implants or textured expanders are involved. The higher risk associated with textured implants may result in tissue irritation, which, in turn, leads to malignancy.

According to the ASPS and FDA, the incidence rate of BIA-ALCL is very low, and the condition has a high cure rate. Conventional treatment of BIA-ALCL involves an implant removal with a total en bloc.

Contact Dr. Fredric Barr

Undergoing breast implant removal surgery has risks and benefits. If you are experiencing BII symptoms or want to prevent BIA-ALCL, it is critical to gather information and make a calculated decision.

Contact Dr. Fredric Barr at Palm Beach Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery to schedule a call with a patient counselor and gain insights into the condition of your breast implants. The patient counselor will also listen to your concerns and schedule a call or an appointment with Dr. Barr, who will provide you with safe, informed solutions to resolve any issues you may be experiencing related to your implants.

If you want to choose the best course of action for your health, a consultation with a patient counselor at Palm Beach Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery is the first step.