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Allergan Recalls Textured Implants Tied to Cancer Fears

Home/Blog / Allergan Recalls Textured Implants Tied to Cancer Fears

When people undergo plastic surgery, they often look forward to improved confidence, a refined appearance, or a more youthful aesthetic. But, with a worldwide Allergan textured implant recall and research that links some breast implants to a rare form of cancer, 10 million women with implants are left wondering whether they could fall prey to this serious disease.

How are implants and cancer linked?

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a kind of lymphoma that can develop from some types of breast implants. Currently, research suggests that this cancer is caused only by textured implants. And, over 80% of these cases were linked specifically to the now-recalled Allergan brand. Smooth implants, which most plastic surgeons in the United States use, are not linked to BIA-ALCL. Though this rare form of cancer is associated with breast implants, it is not a form of breast cancer. BIA-ALCL is actually a form of lymphoma—cancer that affects the cells in the immune system. Like many other kinds of cancer, however, it is capable of traveling to other parts of the body, posing a serious risk to health.

Though the FDA recognized claims that cancer could be caused by implants as early as 2011, textured implants have been used by plastic surgeons (primarily in South America and Europe) for years. In 2016, the World Health Organization confirmed links between implants and cancer risk, leading the FDA to review implant safety in the wake of new information. And, on July 24, 2019, Allergan issued a recall after the FDA discovered definitive research linking their textured implants to BIA-ALCL.

Though scientists don’t fully understand the reason why textured implants can lead to cancer, the implant recall is a good first step to prevent future cases and help those with Allergan’s textured implants better assess their options. Luckily, researchers have identified breast implant removal as an effective treatment or preventative measure for BIA-ALCL. For many women, removing the textured implant or replacing it with a smooth silicone or saline implant makes sense. Not only does this reduce the risk of cancer, but it also can give patients the peace of mind they deserve.

If you have had a breast augmentation and are worried about your health, be sure to verify the kind of implant used by your plastic surgeon. If you have textured implants—especially the now-recalled Allergan brand—and are experiencing worrying symptoms like swelling on just one side, visit your plastic surgeon for an ultrasound. If there is fluid around the implant, it needs to be tested for BIA-ALCL.

While Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery of Columbus has never used textured implants, we are happy to help women remove their textured implants or replace them with smooth saline or silicon options. If you are ready to schedule your appointment, call us today at (614) 890-5565 to discuss your treatment options.

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