What are the risks of breast implants?

Undergoing a breast surgery can be a positive influence on sombody’s life. Hundreds of our patients can confirm this. Nonetheless, any surgery involves some risks, including breast augmentation. The online platform “Healthline” has published an article about this, whose information we would like to pass on in this blog article. To keep the risk as low as possible, we advise you to be careful in choosing your doctor beforehand, and to follow the instructions for the follow-up care of the breast, or to contact them immediately in case of any abnormalities.

What is BIA-ALCL?

There have been repeated questions from patients on “BIA-ALCL” (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma). This is a rare form of cancer that is not to be confused with breast cancer. Thus, according to the “World Health Organization” and “U.S. Food and Drug Administration” a possible link between BIA-ALCL and breast implants might exist. This is not proven. An attempt was made to find a connection in various studies. This could neither be excluded nor proved.

What causes BIA-ALCL?

Scientists believe that the exact cause for the production of BIA-ALCL is unclear. Regardless, it appears that the surface textures of the breast implant may play a role; For example, textured implants are more commonly associated with BIA-ALCL than smooth implants. The reason for this may be that textured implants have a larger surface area for the development of bacteria. These bacteria, in turn, can cause an infection which, in very rare cases, can lead to BIA-ALCL. As mentioned above, every operation involves certain risks. Thus, the risks of infection. This can, among other things, arise when bacteria enter the patient’s body during the operation. If your doctor’s choice falls on a textured implant, it is particularly important that the risks of infection are kept to a minimum.

What are the symptoms of BIA-ALCL?

BIA-ALCL is mostly contained in the tissue around the breast implant, but can also spread to other regions of the body – including the lymph nodes.

Common symptoms include:

  • A persistent swelling or pain around the breast implants, although the surgery was years ago
  • An accumulation of fluid around the breast implant
  • Encapsulation, which manifests as scarred tissue around the breast implant or capsule under the skin.

How is BIA-ALCL diagnosed?

BIA-ALCL is classified as T-cell lymphoma. The initial cell for T-cell lymphoma is a single, so-called T-cell, which has been rendered inoperative due to a cell division error and proliferates unchecked. The cancer can spread either quickly or slowly. The prospects of healing depending on the stage of development in which the cancer was diagnosed, and how aggressive it is.

How is BIA-ALCL handled?

When BIA-ALCL is diagnosed at the first stage, or earlier, in most cases, it is sufficient to remove the breast implants to stop the spread of the disease. The survival rate is very high in this case. In a second-stage diagnosis of BIA-ALCL, in addition to the removal of the breast implants, chemotherapy will be used to stop the spread of the disease. Nevertheless, the survival rate is 89%. However, explaining the precise diagnosis or treatment of BIA-ALCL would be beyond the scope of this article. We therefore refer to the links below and/or a consultation.

What symptoms can occur after breast surgery?

In addition to these symptoms, which can occur as part of a BIA-ALCL disease, there are other symptoms that may be associated with breast surgery. It is very important to treat them immediately. If, for example, you get a fever, have severe pain/swelling/redness, fluids segregate or the color of the breast changes, it is necessary to consult your doctor as soon as possible. Additional effects of breast surgery may include, but are not limited to, nipple sensation, breast asymmetry, or slipping of the implant. In addition, in some cases, a reoperation must be performed.

Other diseases associated with breast implants:

There have been speculations in recent years about whether their breast implants could have led to the following diseases: lupus, scleroderma, sclerosis and Sjogren’s syndrome. However, studies have shown that there is no significant association between these diseases and breast implants.

Conclusion

In summary, although there are several risks associated with breast augmentation, it is still a largely safe operation. In addition, the percentage of BIA-ALCL disease is very low. However, to minimize the risk of infection, implant rupture, or breast cancer following breast surgery, it is essential to strictly follow the doctor’s instructions. In addition, you should immediately report to your doctor in case of any abnormalities or occurrence of the above symptoms.

Further information on the risks of breast augmentation and BIA-ALCL can be found under the given links or in the course of a consultation.

https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-implant-illness#treatment

https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/BreastImplants/ucm239995.htm

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200003163421105