WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF BREAST IMPLANTS?
Having breast surgery can change a person’s life very much for the better. Hundreds of our patients can confirm this. Nevertheless, every operation carries certain risks, and breast augmentation is no exception. The online platform “Healthline” has published an article about this, the information of which we would like to share in this blog article. In order to keep the risk as low as possible, we advise on the one hand to be careful in choosing the doctor in advance, and on the other hand to follow the instructions for the post-treatment of the breast carefully or to contact him immediately in case of any abnormalities.
WHAT IS BIA-ALCL?
Recently, there have been many questions from patients on the subject of “BIA -ALCL” (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma). This is a rare form of cancer that should not be confused with breast cancer. According to the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is a possible link between BIA-ALCL and breast implants. However, this has not been proven. Various studies have tried to find a connection. This could neither be excluded nor proven.
WHAT CAUSES BIA-ALCL?
Scientists believe that the exact cause of BIA-ALCL is unclear. Regardless, it appears that the surface texturing of breast implants 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 greater surface area for bacteria to develop. These bacteria, in turn, can cause infection, which, in very rare cases, can lead to BIA-ALCL. As mentioned at the beginning, every surgery carries certain risks. Thus also the risks of an infection. This can occur, among other things, if bacteria enter the patient’s body during the operation. If you or your doctor choose to use a textured implant, it is therefore particularly important that the risks of infection are kept as low as possible.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BIA-ALCL?
BIA-ALCL is mostly contained in the tissue around the breast implant, but it can also spread to other regions in the body – including the lymph nodes.
Common symptoms include:
- a persistent swelling or pain around the breast implants, even though the surgery was done years ago
- an accumulation of fluid around the breast implant
- Encapsulation, which takes the form of scarred tissue around the breast implant or a capsule under the skin.
HOW IS BIA-ALCL DIAGNOSED?
BIA-ALCL is classified as a T-cell lymphoma. The initial cell for T-cell lymphoma is a single cell, called a T-cell, that has become nonfunctional due to an error in cell division and is multiplying unchecked. The cancer can spread either rapidly or slowly. Depending on the stage of development at which the cancer was diagnosed and how aggressive it is, the patient’s prospects for recovery.
HOW IS BIA-ALCL TREATED?
If 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 in this case is very high. When BIA-ALCL is diagnosed at the second stage, in addition to removing the breast implants, chemotherapy is given to stop the spread of the disease. Nevertheless, the survival rate is 89%. However, to explain the exact diagnosis or treatment of BIA-ALCL is beyond the scope of this article. We therefore refer you to the links below and/or a consultation.
WHAT SYMPTOMS CAN OCCUR AFTER BREAST SURGERY?
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above that may occur in the course of BIA-ALCL disease, there are other symptoms that may accompany breast surgery. It is very important to treat these immediately. If, for example, you develop a fever, have severe pain/swelling/redness, there is a secretion of fluid, 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 changes, asymmetrical breasts, or implant slippage. In addition, in some cases, follow-up surgery may need to be performed.
OTHER DISEASES THAT HAVE BEEN LINKED TO BREAST IMPLANTS:
There has been speculation from patients in recent years about whether their breast implants may have led to the following diseases: Lupus, Scleroderma, Sclerosis, and Sjögren’s Syndrome. However, studies have shown that there is no significant association between these diseases and breast implants.
In summary, although there are quite a few 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 after breast surgery, it is essential to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully. Furthermore, if you notice any abnormalities or experience any of the above symptoms, you should report them to your doctor immediately.
Further information on the risks of breast augmentation and BIA-ALCL can be found under the links provided or obtained during a consultation.