In the recent news regarding breast augmentation, breast implant manufacturer Allergan has announced a worldwide recall of their breast implants as requested by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to a recent studies that linked textured breast implants to Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma or BIA-ALCL, known as a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or cancer of the immune system.
This event sparked conversations on the safety of breast augmentation. If you are someone who is thinking about having breast augmentation surgery, It is important to understand what BIA-ALCL is and if this should stop you from pursuing breast augmentation.
What is BIA-ALCL?
Before we answer what Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma or BIA-ALCL is, it is important to address the most common misconception; BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer. Though it develops around the breast implant, it is classified as a different type of cancer.
BIA-ALCL is a lymphoproliferative deformity classified as a slow-growing type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or in simpler terms, a disease that affects the immune system. BIA-ALCL may initially appear as fluid surrounding the breast implant, but it may also affect the surrounding capsule and tissues and may even spread to the rest of the body.
Symptoms of BIA-ALCL include swelling, and in some cases, pain in the breast area. Some patients were reported to having a lump in the breast area, as well as capsular contracture, or thickening of the scar tissue that surrounds the implant. In spite of the low risk of developing BIA-ALCL, cancer is can be life-threatening if not immediately treated. Most patients with BIA-ALCL are treated by the removal of breast implants and the surrounding scar tissue, but in other cases, it may require chemo or radiation therapy.
Based on the finding of the US FDA, the risk of developing BIA-ALCL is highly attributed to “textured breast implants”. Textured implants were designed to allow the surrounding tissue to better adhere to the implants, thus holding the device in place. However, according to recent studies, BIA-ALCL is primarily caused by these textured implants.
The more rough the surface of the implant is, the higher risk of developing BIA-ALCL. Though healthcare professionals’ have yet to pinpoint the reason why textured surface implants lead to cancer, they suspect that frictions between the textured implant surface and the surrounding tissue cause discomfort and inflammation that may lead to cancer. Another suspected cause are crevices between the implant and surrounding tissues that may be susceptible to bacterial infection, and lead to cancer.
Solving the problem through innovation
Going back to the previous question in mind, should BIA-ALCL stop you from having breast augmentation? The answer is no, BIA-ALCL is not a cause for you to completely abandon the idea of pursuing breast augmentation.
Through extensive research, it has been identified that textured implants are the main contributor that causes chronic inflammation and is a potential contributing factor for BIA-ALCL. Based on the recent findings, smooth surface implants does not pose the same threats. There are plenty of options in the market that offers smooth surface breast implants, and one of which is Motiva Implants®.
Motiva Implants Philippines: Ahead of the curve
Motiva® breast implants Philippines have been a step ahead of the curve, investing heavily in research and development to create products that prioritize women’s’ safety and satisfaction. Establishment Labs, the manufacturer of Motiva Implants® have designed implants on the foundation of scientific research on breast implant surfaces and the human immune system response.
Motiva uses SmoothSilk™ NanoSurface™ for their implant shells, manufactured using 3-D printing technology to create a controlled surface of uniform shell thickness throughout the implant.
This does not only protect patients from developing BIA-ALCL but also improves post-operative outcomes, with patients reporting fewer complications. The NanoSurface™ technology has also been proven to minimize inflammation and maximize biocompatibility, enables implant insertion via smaller incisions and reduces the risk of double capsules and late seromas.
Based on the 6th year follow-up on the 10-year prospective study on the safety of Motiva Implants®, results show that 0% of the patients that participated in the study showed no signs or symptoms of BIA-ALCL. To date, Motiva Implants® have a clean record and have yet to receive any reported cases regarding BIA-ALCL.
If you are someone who has textured implants, do not panic because the probability of developing BIA-ALCL is very low, but be vigilant for any symptoms of the disease. When in doubt, always consult your doctor. And if you are someone who has been on the fence thinking whether to pursue breast augmentation due to the recent news, not to worry as there are products in the industry like Motiva® which have been proven to be safe and reliable.