Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently updated its website with additional information about the relationship between breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), we’d like to provide some perspective and reassure our patients about this extremely rare illness.
First, a little background. In 2011, the FDA initially reported a possible association between breast implants and ALCL. There were so few cases that the agency couldn’t identify any risk factors, but decided to gather more information to understand the link between breast implants and ALCL. Based on the information compiled, the FDA decided earlier this year to update its website.
It’s important to keep in mind that ALCL cases related to breast implants are rare. As of Feb. 1, 2017, the FDA has identified only 359 cases. According to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), plastic surgeons performed more than 310,000 breast augmentations in 2016 alone.
The treatment for most women who have been diagnosed with ALCL is removal of both implants, along with the capsules that surround the implants which will cure the cancer. That is the complete treatment. If a patient is concerned about ALCL and wants additional information, she can schedule an appointment with her doctor to discuss it.
We’d also like to take this opportunity to remind breast augmentation patients to schedule regular mammograms and physicals with their healthcare providers to ensure their overall health.