The TGA, last week, banned some textured implants, and placed a proposed ban on the majority of textured implants. Ironically, the few textured implants left on the market are relatively new implants and their risk profile for ALCL is not known. The TGA have not released any new data on which they’ve made this decision. They seem to have lumped all textured implants in the one basket. For the many Re. patients who have these implants, you’ll want to know what your risks are and what you should do, and that’s why I’ve done this video for our patients.
The first thing to know is there is no cause for alarm. There is no new data. There is no new evidence. The risk for Mentor implants to develop ALCL remains at one in 86,000 patients. The advice from the TGA and all experts in the field remains that there is no need to remove your implants as a precaution. If you don’t have any symptoms, there’s no need for any action at all.
So this is what we know about breast implant associated ALCL. ALCL usually presents with a swelling of the breast on average eight years after implantation. This swelling is due to an accumulation of fluid around the implant. Less commonly, ALCL can present with a lump in the breast or a lump in the armpit. For those women who do develop ALCL, the vast majority will be cured by removing the implant and the surrounding capsule within a year of noticing the swelling, without the need for any other treatment.
ALCL is really more accurately described as being like a benign precursor to cancer. Much like a sunspot may become a skin cancer, but if removed, it won’t. The risk of dying from ALCL does exist, but it’s so small, it’s hard to accurately calculate it, but it’s less than one in a million patients. To put that risk into perspective, a recent study has showed that the risk of death from skiing for a day is twice as high as having a textured implant, and the risk of driving for eight hours is 40 times higher. The risk of any Australian woman with or without breast implants of developing an actual breast cancer, not ALCL, is one in eight, and the lifetime risk of developing any type of lymphoma, one that’s not related to an implant is one in 50.
While all of this should be considered very encouraging, it is essential that all women who are diagnosed with ALCL have surgical treatment that is known to be curative. There’s currently a two week period for the proposed ban to be opposed. Our societies are actively involved in that process. The loss of textured implants will have a significant impact on the aesthetic outcomes for not only augmentation surgery, but also for breast reconstruction patients after breast cancer.
With all that said, if you do have breast implants and you have any concerns whatsoever, we want to see you and discuss it with you further. As always, our primary concern is with our patients and their safety and their wellbeing.