BIA-ALCL & Breast Augmentation: Is the Risk a Reality?

Woman better understanding breast implant safety before her breast augmentation.

We’ve heard some concerns from women considering breast augmentation at our St. Louis practice about Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a disease associated with breast implants. This condition, which is not cancerous, causes some hesitation in women who want to make sure their breast augmentation decision is a safe, low-risk one.

While every surgery comes with associated risks, choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon is the surest way to receive excellent care with the lowest possible likelihood of a complication. In this blog post, I’d like to discuss the reality of BIA-ALCL, the probability of developing it, and the precautions our practice takes to make sure patients are properly cared for throughout the breast augmentation process.

What is BIA-ALCL?

BIA-ALCL is a type of lymphoma associated with the use of breast implants. It can occur with any type of implant, but some evidence indicates the condition may be associated with textured implants. It typically develops within the scar capsule surrounding the device. It is characterized by a collection of fluids or masses in the capsule, which leads to symptoms like pain, lumps, swelling, or asymmetry in the breasts. On average, BIA-ALCL is diagnosed 9 years after surgery; and treatment includes surgical removal of the implant and capsule.

How likely am I to develop BIA-ALCL?

BIA-ALCL was recorded in 660 patients out of the 1.5 million who received breast augmentation in 2018. That equals a likelihood of about 0.0004%, a number the FDA calls “small.” The frequency of occurrence within this data set is only high enough to suggest that breast augmentation patients have an “increased risk” of developing BIA-ALCL than those without implants.

How can I be sure my breast augmentation is safe?

The best way to make sure your procedure is as low-risk as possible is to choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon with a proven track record of successful patient outcomes. By researching your plastic surgeon and requiring these credentials, you will know your doctor is a trained, qualified surgeon who is prepared to perform your surgery with the highest regard for safety regulations and guidelines.

Developing BIA-ALCL is a possibility, although a very small one. I encourage breast augmentation patients to keep an eye out for a new swelling, lumps, or pain around breast implants—and to report it to your surgeon for a quick and thorough solution.

I perform breast augmentation regularly and I am dedicated to delivering safe, positive experiences and helping patients feel secure and confident throughout the process. While no surgeon can guarantee you will not develop BIA-ALCL or other complications, I am committed to performing only the most reliable procedures and following up regularly with my patients to make sure that any and all post-op concerns are quickly addressed. My priority is creating dependable results that help patients live better, more confident lives.

If you would like to learn more about the risks and benefits of breast augmentation in St. Louis, contact us online to schedule a consultation, or call us at (636) 530-6161.

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