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    ALCL: Are your breast implant patients worried?


    The Patient Impact

    Once surgeons put the news in perspective with facts, they should encourage patients with breast implants to be aware of this disease. If patients notice the development of a fluid collection adjacent to their implant, they should have their breasts evaluated by their physicians without delay, according to Dr. Wong.

    “If detected early, breast implant associated ALCL is commonly cured by removal of the implant and surrounding capsule tissue,” he says.

    Plastic and cosmetic surgeons should also address the issue of ALCL in the consult, making patients who want breast implants aware that there is an association between silicone breast implants and ALCL, which is a very rare disease.

    “I believe this should be listed as a possible ‘risk’ on the surgical informed consent,” Dr. Wong says. “However, there is no current scientific data to suggest that breast implants cause any type of cancer, whether it is ALCL or the more commonly known breast tumors, such as ductal or lobular carcinomas. This is supported by several peer-reviewed published meta-analyses.”1-3

    Despite the media attention and real need to continue to monitor reported cases of BIA-ALCL, surgeons and their patients should know that silicone breast implants remain safe for use in breast augmentation. The emphasis should be on awareness and quick action in the rare case that this cancer occurs, according to Dr. Wong.

    “Post-operatively, patients should perform routine self-exams of their breasts and, if they notice irregularities of any kind, this should be presented to their surgeon for evaluation,” he says.

    Disclosures: Dr. Wong reports no relevant conflicts of interest.

    For further reading:

    1. Hoshaw SJ, Klein PJ, Clark BD, Cook RR, Perkins LL. Breast implants and cancer: causation, delayed detection, and survival. Plast Reconstr Surg. 107(6):1393-407, 2001.
    2. Noels EC, Lapid O, Lindeman JH, Bastiaannet E. Breast implants and the risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. Aesthet Surg J. 35(1):55-62, 2015.
    3. Balk EM, Earley A, Avendano EA, Raman G. Long-Term Health Outcomes in Women With Silicone Gel Breast Implants: A Systematic Review. Ann Intern Med. 2016 Feb 2;164(3):164-75.


    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has written about health care, the science and business of medicine, fitness and wellness ...


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