Published June 21, 2018

Update on breast implants: What you should know about BIA-ALCL

There has been a recent influx of media attention surrounding breast implant associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

This is a rare form on Non Hodgkins Lymphoma which occurs in the breast of women with breast implants.

To date the current data puts the risk of BIA-ALCL in women with breast implants at 1:2,700 to 1:80,000 depending on the level of implant texturing.

The Facts:

  • BIA-ALCL is an extremely rare disease
  • Of the 35 million women with breast implants worldwide, there have been 500 incidents of BIA-ALCL
  • Implants with a higher texturing are associated with an increased risk
  • Smooth implants on their own are have not been associated with ALCL
  • BIA-ALCL usually presents with delayed swelling of the affected breast or less frequently with a lump (or both) for no apparent reason from two to 14 years after the original implant surgery (average over seven years).
  • Most cases of delayed breast swelling after breast implants are not BIA-ALCL.
  • In the majority of cases, the disease is cured by removal of the implant and surrounding capsule without chemotherapy, radiotherapy and no recurrence when performed properly.

Are you concerned about a change in your breast?

If you have had Breast Augmentation surgery and are concerned about any changes in your breasts, particularly swelling or hardening, then please seek medical advice from your GP or your surgeon.

If you are a patient of Dr Tavakoli and you are concerned or have further questions, please contact his rooms on 1300 368 107 and seek advice from his knowledgeable team.

If required, Dr Tavakoli will request you undergo an ultrasound of your breasts by a qualified radiologist. During this ultrasound, if there is fluid noted, the radiologist will painlessly remove this fluid and send it for testing to determine if the disease is present.

It is important to remember most cases of late onset swelling or hardening of the breast is not related to ALCL.

For more information you can read the statement from the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons here. 

Published By: Dr Kourosh Tavakoli

Dr Kourosh Tavakoli, MS, FRACS, is an internationally renowned Australian trained plastic surgeon with over 20 years of surgical training. He is an active member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), International Society (ISAPS) and American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). He is considered a world leader in plastic surgery of the breast and body and lectures extensively around the word on these topics.