BIA-ALCL Breast Implant News Update

When performed by a qualified plastic surgeon using best practice methods, breast augmentation remains an extremely safe procedure.

However, media reports today have reinvigorated discussion about breast implant related lymphoma – specifically, highly textured implants. These ‘macro’ textured implants are no longer available in Australia. This is not new news, and does not relate to updated evidence or recently-released research.

Quoted by Channel 7 News today, a Better Heath Victoria spokesperson said: “the level of risk depends on the type of implant you have. People who have highly textured implants seem to be at the greatest risk (between one in 2500 and one in 25,000)”.

“This risk significantly decreases with a decrease in texturing of the implant.”

The TGA also advises that: “the evidence available at present indicates that while causes are likely to be multi-factoral (sic) BIA-ALCL is more likely to occur in implants with a greater surface area and roughness of their wall”.

The ‘macro’ textured implants currently being discussed in the media are not the implants Dr Sharp uses in breast augmentation surgery.

He uses low surface area smooth, ‘micro’ or ‘nano’ textured implants.

Dr Sharp also proactively reduces the risk of BIA-ALCL for his patients by following the Macquarie University 14 Point Plan when performing augmentation surgery.

Dr Sharp is committed to patient safety and education, and keeps his patients up to date with the latest research and TGA advice via our website’s news page. Read more about BIA-ALCL on our patient education pages here.

 

Specialist plastic surgeon vs cosmetic surgeon

Symptoms of BIA-ALCL include swelling, pain and lumps. Anyone with breast implants – of any kind – who experiences these symptoms should see their GP and request a referral to their original plastic surgeon. The TGA also now imposes very strict reporting requirements, ensuring that all cases of BIA-ALCL are tracked, so authorities can work with up-to-the minute information regarding any cases in Australia.

Unless you have symptoms of BIA-ALCL or other implant complications, medical authorities do not recommend the precautionary removal of implants.

As with all aspects of your medical care, it’s important to be informed; every patient should know which type of implant they have, and safety store this information somewhere they can reference later, if required. Your surgeon should also register your implants with the Breast Implant Device Register, so even if you forget the name of your surgeon years or decades down the track, or lose your implant information, you can always track it down through this independent register. The register also enables researchers to collate data, so by registering your implants, your surgeon is contributing to large-scale data collection and helping to track overall implant safety.

BIA-ALCL recap: if you want breast implants but are concerned about BIA-ALCL, what can you do to reduce the risk?

1. Choose a qualified plastic surgeon that has taken the Macquarie University 14 Point Pledge to ensure best practice methods are used when your implants are placed

2. Ensure your surgeon uses high quality smooth or ‘nano’ textured implants (zero risk) or ‘micro’ textured implants (very low risk)

3. Ensure your implants are registered with the Breast Implant Device Registry

4. Check your breasts monthly (whether you have implants or not) and if you see or feel any changes, speak to your GP or surgeon

And most importantly, discuss any concerns with your surgeon prior to your operation. They will support you in choosing the right implant for your body shape, breast goals and overall feelings about implant risks.

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The above information is general in nature and does not constitute indivdual medical advice. Online forums and social media are not reliable sources of surgical advice or information. Speak to your surgeon directly if you have any concerns or queries.