The goals of the Penn Medicine Blueprint for Quality and Safety are to improve the health of our patients and to ensure safe care. As part of this commitment, we feel that it is important to share information with our patients about a rare product-related issue that has affected some patients who have had textured breast implants placed. Please see resources below for further information.

Textured breast implants have been linked to a very rare form of cancer called Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). BIA-ALCL is not a breast cancer but a rare and generally treatable form of lymphoma — a cancer of the cells of the immune system. According to the FDA, most data suggest that BIA-ALCL is associated with breast implants with textured surfaces rather than those with smooth surfaces, though further study is being undertaken to better understand what may trigger this condition.

BIA-ALCL most often presents years after breast implant placement as an enlargement of the breast with a fluid collection around the implant. In most cases, BIA-ALCL can be successfully treated by removal of the implant and the capsule (the scar tissue layer around the implant). Some recent reports, however, have indicated that in a select few cases, BIA-ALCL can develop as an invasive lymphoma requiring further treatment.

The FDA has not recommended that implants be removed or any other changes in follow-up care other than patients monitoring their breast implants and contacting their physicians immediately if they notice a new onset of pain, swelling, asymmetry (difference in size between the breasts) or any changes in or around the breast implants once recovered from implant surgery. Patients who develop any of these symptoms should contact their plastic surgeon as soon as possible to schedule an evaluation.

Resources

Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) - U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

BIA-ALCL Physician Resources - American Society of Plastic Surgeons