The FDA and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has officially confirmed that silicone breast implants, especially those that are textured, can increase the risk for a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer) called Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).  

What Is The Risk?

Approximately 250 patients have been identified so far, but this is out of millions of breast implant patients. How can you know whether you might have this complication? Typically, one of your breasts will spontaneously swell up without any cause.

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If you experience unilateral breast enlargement (one sided breast swelling), you should see your surgeon immediately. Your surgeon will do an examination and then order an ultrasound guided tap of the fluid surrounding your implant that. The fluid will be sent out for testing to rule out lymphoma. While it is absolutely necessary for all breast swelling or lumps to be evaluated by a doctor, in most cases they turn out to be non-threatening in nature and can be treated effectively. If lymphoma is, in fact, diagnosed early treatment can result in a complete cure.

Treatment simply requires removal of the implant as well as removal of the capsule, or natural scar tissue that forms around the implant. The capsule may appear thickened as in the picture to the right.

Remember, breast care requires routine self examination and annual follow-up with your surgeon in order to enjoy lifelong enhanced breast shape and augmented size. Patients are also encouraged to consider smooth-shelled silicone breast implants instead of textured implants, as the smooth shell tends to avoid this complication.

To discuss the benefits and risks of textured-surface vs. smooth-surfaced implants, please book a consultation with Dr. Mowlavi.

Click here to learn more about the different types of implants used in breast augmentations.

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