Global Recall of Textured Breast Implants: Linked to Rare Cancer

Breast implant and cancer risks have been repeatedly brought up by various studies. But in a move that is bound to create serious concerns, textured breast implants made by Allergan have been recalled in the US, to be followed by a global recall.

The US Food and Drug Administration ordered the recall based on an increasing number of cases and deaths from the implant-associated cancer, reports The New York Times. Europe had banned the product in 2018 itself.

The recall means the implant can no longer be sold and doctors who have them in stock will have to return them. It stops short of suggesting that women who have the implants have them removed.

So far, 573 cases and 33 deaths have been reported, with a majority number linked to Allergan Biocell Implants.

The rare cancer linked to the recall is not breast cancer but anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. It develops in tissue around the implant and removing it usually cures the cancer. But if it is not detected early, it can spread and prove fatal. The cases reported so far involved those who had used the implants for cosmetic enhancement and those used for reconstruction of breasts following mastectomy.

Symptoms of the cancer include swelling and accumulation of fluids around the implant. The risk from Allergan’s implants is six times that of other textured implants, according to the USFDA.

It’s the textured surface of the implant that has been linked to the rare cancer and not the silicon and saline inside. But why it leads to lymphoma is still not known.

In a statement, the company is quoted as saying:

Patient safety is a priority for Allergan and patients are advised to speak with their plastic surgeon about the risk and benefits of their implant type should they have any concerns.

Also Read: Implant Files: Inside the Murky Breast Implant Industry

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