Written by: Heather Helmendach, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
Recent Study on BIA-ALCL Risks
Since my last article on this topic, "What is the Risk of Death Due to Breast Implant-Associated Lymphoma?," additional information on the risk of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) has been released.
The most recent study, titled "Breast Implants and the Risk of Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma in the Breast," was published on January 4, 2018, and comes from researchers who analyzed the population-based nationwide Dutch pathology registry.
The rising number of BIA-ALCL diagnoses prompted the need for additional study of the disease, as I discussed in my previous article, "Breast Implant-Associated Lymphoma Diagnoses on the Rise."
In this particular study, the goal was to "determine relative and absolute risks of breast-ALCL in women with breast implants." In turn, the researchers hoped that their findings would facilitate more accurate evidence-based counseling about implants between doctors and patients.
Confirmation of Facts
Much of the information found in this new study is not, in fact, new. Like previous studies on BIA-ALCL, this article found that textured implants are associated with BIA-ALCL, while smooth implants do not appear to be. These researchers also found that 82% of the women in the study with BIA-ALCL had "macrotextured" implants, while the remaining 18% had "microtextured" implants.
This information confirms previous theories that the textured surface of the breast implant provides a place for the bacteria to stick, and more surface area on the implant aids in the growth and proliferation of that bacteria. For this and other theories on how BIA-ALCL develops, see "Breast Implants and Lymphoma: Who's to Blame?"
The results of the Dutch researchers also echoed those of previous studies as regards the relatively low overall risk of developing BIA-ALCL after breast implants. Based on their findings, they estimated that for women who get breast implants, the risk of developing BIA-ALCL is as follows:
- At age 50: 1 in 35,000
- At age 70: 1 in 12,000
- At age 75: 1 in 7,000
Application of Findings
While they acknowledged that the absolute risk was low, researchers encouraged doctors to closely monitor their breast implant patients for any signs of BIA-ALCL. They also strongly suggested that doctors discuss the risk of BIA-ALCL with patients who are considering breast implants.
Lastly, they point out that their conclusions suggest a need for:
[I]ncreased awareness [of BIA-ALCL] among the public, medical professionals, and regulatory bodies, promotion of alternative cosmetic procedures, and alertness to signs and symptoms of breast-ALCL in women with implants....[as well as] increased clinical awareness, comprehensive registration of implants and complications, and stimulation of alternative cosmetic/reconstructive procedures.
We will continue to monitor the medical literature concerning breast implants and this rare type of lymphoma, and report on new information as it becomes available.
Previous articles on this topic: