Greetings and Happy Monday!
I thought I'd reach out to the many women out there who are concerned about the announcements made last week tegarding the recall of textured Allergan implants. I have received calls over the last week with women questioning whether "Gummie Bear" implants are part of the recall, and it became clear to me that there is a lot of confusion about the different types of breast implants on the market. I hope the following claifies thigs, and put people's minds at ease.
For starters, the 3 major breast implant manufacturers in the US marketplace are Allergan, Mentor, and Sientra. Only the Allergan textured implants have been recalled, and not those made by Mentor or Sienta. The reason for the recall is that there have been a limited number of reported cases of a type of lymphoma that has developed in women with textured breast implants, and the majority of those women had textured implants made by Allergan.
The lymphoma has been termed BIALCL, which stands for Breast Implant Associated Large Cell Lymphoma. Since the majority of the cases of lymphoma have been linked to Allergan implants, the thought is that there may be a link to the special texturing process used by Allergan, which is different from that of Mentor and Sientra.
It is worth noting that textured implants may be filled with saline or silicone gel. Additionally, if the implants are filled with silicone gel, the shape may be round or contoured. The shaped, contoured implants made by Allergan are the ones that got nicknamed "Gummie Bear" implants. The recall applies to these Allergan "Gummie Bear" implants, but also the round saline and silicone gel filled textured implants.
The women who have presented with the BIALCL were found to have a new onset of swelling with fluid around the implant(s) over a year after the implant(s) were placed. There are theories being developed as to what is the etiology or cause of the lymphoma, including even a bacterial cause. I think the most important take home point is that neither the FDA nor the American Society of Plastic Surgery are recommending removal of asymptomatic implants.
Again, the incidence of this lymphoma remains low and there is a lot that remains unknown with BIACL. However, if you or someone you know has developed a new onset of swelling or fluid around their implant, particularly if the implant is textured, it is imperative that medical attention is sought.
I hope that the above information affords some comfort, but a always, do not hesitate to contact me or my staff if you have any questions or concerns. We are happy to see and evaluate you!
I hope you have a great day!
Dr. Heidi Williams