Should I be concerned about the recent recall of breast implants?
Firstly let’s look at a few simple facts, so you can judge if you should be concerned and follow this through.
- It must be pointed out that the instance of BIA-ALCL, which is a type of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, is extremely rare world-wide.
- The presentation of problems are very obvious – a sudden swelling in one breast as a result of fluid building up around the implant.
- If you detect any changes in the breast or armpit, including swelling, a lump or pain, contact your surgeon immediately for advice.
- The problem is curable by surgically removing the implant and fibrous capsule surrounding it.
If you do have any changes as outlined above:
- Call your surgeon for further advice
- If they believe you may have a problem, they will ask you to get an MRI.
- The best course of action is to then visit your GP. They will write you an MRI request and a referral to see your surgeon, so that you can make Medicare claims in relation to your appointments and treatments.
- Schedule the MRI and ask when the results will be available.
- Schedule an appointment with your surgeon shortly after the results will be available to reduce wait times.
What will happen if the MRI shows a problem?
- At consultation with your surgeon, a course of action will be explained.
- This will generally start with a guided aspiration of any fluid build-up around the implant. This is the definitive test for ALCL.
- If this results comes back positive, you will be scheduled for removal of your implant asap.
- If you cannot afford to do this privately, an urgent referral will be sent to the local public hospital.
- Most surgeons will recommend the removal of both of your implants at this stage, and it is likely that no one will recommend further breast enlargement surgery for an extended period, if at all.
Should I contact my surgeon if I am not experiencing problems?
Your surgeon’s staff are there to help you with any concerns. They will be very happy to answer your questions and make appropriate appointments if necessary. Call them if you are concerned!
Where there is no problem, it is not necessary to see your surgeon.
I have a family history of breast cancer. Does this increase my risk of ALCL?
No. This is not breast cancer and is completely unrelated to breast cancer.
I don’t have a problem but this media hype has concerned me and I just want my implants removed.
- If you have decided that you no long want your breast implants, your surgeon will remove these for you.
- There is no evidence to show that the capsule must also be removed. In fact there is more evidence that removing the fibrous capsule increases the risks of surgery and associated complications. Dr McGovern will not perform a capsulectomy if this is not warranted.
- There will be costs associated with the removal of your implants. You will have surgeon’s fees, hospital fees and anaesthetic fees.
- Medicare will rebate some of your surgical fees and anaesthetic fees
- Private health Insurance may cover your hospital fees, depending on your policy.
- If you cannot afford surgery privately, you can go on a public hospital waiting list. Be prepared for a long wait, as this is not an urgent problem.
I no longer want breast implants, but I would still like to have breasts. Is there an option?
- If you have no problems, and you are a good candidate, your surgeon may discuss with you the option of fat injection in place of your implants.
- A good candidate is fit and healthy, but must have enough fat elsewhere on the body to be used for fat transfer.
- Fat transfer is not as predictable as breast implants and does have its own set of risks. Your surgeon will discuss these with you at consultation
- Once again, call your surgeon’s staff if you are interested in this option. They will be able to give you more information and make appropriate appointments for you.
This is very basic information on ALCL, but hopefully it has helped you to understand if you need to be concerned.
Please find attached the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons very easy to read, information sheet on BIO-ALCL
Feel free to call our rooms on 54792922 with ANY questions or concerns about your breast implants.