The recent news about the recall of Allergan’s Biocell textured implant breast implant has many women concerned. Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery has sent a letter about the implant recall to all of our breast implant patients. However, we know there are other women out there that have the same questions as many of our patients. Below is some of the basic information you should know if you are concerned about the breast implant recall:
What Type of Implants Do You Have?
This recall is for a very specific type of implant manufactured by Allergan known as the Biocell textured implant. This implant has only been on the market for a few years and was most commonly used in breast reconstruction. The vast majority of women with breast implants do not have this implant.
The best and easiest way to find out what type of implants you have is to call your plastic surgeons office. Your surgeon’s office should be able to access your medical records and tell you if you have this type of implant. (You may be asked to submit a medical records request to the office.) Finally, if you know the maker of your implants, you can call the manufacturer. They have records of the patients that have had their products implanted. You will need to provide some basic information, like your name, date of birth, surgeons name and possibly your approximate surgery date.
What If Your Implants Were Recalled?
If you discover that you do have Allergan’s Biocell textured implants, don’t need to panic. Allergan is one of the largest manufacturers of breast implants worldwide. They produce many different types of implants but the recall was only for Allergan’s Biocell textured implants.
Allergan has voluntarily recalled its Biocell textured implants because it has been associated with a very rare and highly treatable T-cell lymphoma, which can develop in the capsule the body creates surrounding the breast implant. This cancer is called Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, or BIA- ALCL. It is important to know that BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer. Rather it is a cancer of the immune system. Chances of developing this cancer are very rare. To date, there have only been 573 cases of BIA-ALCL worldwide. If caught early, it is highly treatable.
What is the Treatment For BIA-ALCL?
The standard treatment is removal of the implant and surrounding capsule. BIA-ALCL occurs inside the capsule around the implant, so after the implant and the capsule have been removed, typically no further treatment is required.
I Have Biocell Implants. What Should I Do?
This is the biggest question on the minds of women with Biocell textured implants. The answer is, there is no need to change your routine medical care. Continue to have regular mammograms. Perform your month breast self-examination. Neither the FDA nor any of the plastic surgery societies recommend removing implants in patients who have no signs or symptoms of this cancer. You should inform your health care provider that you have this type of implant so they can keep that in mind when examining your breasts.
What If You Want Your Implants Removed?
If you, for your own peace of mind, would like to have your Biocell textured implants replaced, Allergan will provide smooth implants free of charge. However, they will not cover the surgical, hospital or anesthesia fees associated with exchanging the implants.
At Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery want all of our patients happy and healthy, so if you’re concerned about your implants please schedule an appointment to come in to speak with Dr. Peter Butler or Dr. Jocelyn Leveque, board-certified plastic surgeons.