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.
Written by: Heather Helmendach, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
Previous articles on this topic: