As your plastic surgeon, patient comfort and safety are my chief concerns. It is important that you are happy with your results and confident in your decision, and nothing can turn that satisfaction into worry like an implant gone wrong.
Many of you may have recently heard about BIA-ALCL in the news. This condition, also known as “breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma,” can be associated with certain types of breast implants. This is a very rare condition in which the capsule surrounding a breast implant forms a localized tumor, known as a lymphoma, and presents as fluid around the implant itself. When treated promptly with surgery, it can be reversed. The surgery itself consists of removing the implant and its capsule in the pocket. From there, a new implant can be placed, if desired. This condition has been identified with implants that have a textured surface, rather than a smooth one. Notably, the fill material (either saline or silicone) is not associated with this risk.
There are currently fewer than 500 cases of BIA-ALCL in the United States. The odds of this risk, present only for women with textured implants, are estimated to be anywhere between 1 in 3900, to 1 in 30000. Though the margins are slim, it is still something to be mindful of if you have implants with a textured surface.
The vast majority of my patients have smooth surfaced implants but, in the past five years, I have seen two patients with textured surface implants that contained fluid around one of them. After I personally evaluated both of these patients, the appropriate lab tests showed that the fluid was a seroma, which is a pocket of fluid that can develop as a complication of surgery. The fluid itself is made of blood plasma and inflammatory fluid, and though this was not BIA-ALCL, removal of the fluid was both diagnostic (helped us understand what it was) and therapeutic (removal solved the problem).
If you are unsure as to what type of implant you have, feel free to contact me at 610-667-7070 or 310-299-3553. If you have swelling of one or both implants, please make an appointment to see me and I will be glad to help you. I want all of my patients to know that I am always here to help with any concerns that they might have. My goal is to be your resource for information about any current issues in plastic surgery.
Please feel free to call me anytime with your concerns or questions. I always look forward to seeing you!