In March 2017, the FDA announced nine women died from a rare form of cancer, anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL), caused by their textured breast implants, according to The New York Times.
Textured Breast Implants
Nearly all of the nine cases of the lymphoma were linked to breast implants that had a textured or slightly rough surface, as opposed to a smooth covering. Texturing is done to reduce rippling and help the implants stay in place. Textured implants are available for both saline and silicone. Researchers believe that texturing may cause inflammation that leads to cancer.
According to the article, Allergan implants seem to be associated with more cases than other manufacturers such as Mentor. Allergan uses the “lost– salt” method which entails rolling an implant in salt to create texture before washing the salt away. Other manufacturers use a sponge to create texturing on the implant surface.
Anaplastic Large-cell Lymphoma
Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma is a rare cancer. The good news is that if it’s detected early, the cancer is often curable. Most breast implants in the US are done using smooth implants and not textured. According to the article, researchers estimate that in Europe and the US one in 30,000 women with textured implants will develop the rare form of lymphoma. It doesn’t make a difference if the implants are silicone or saline or whether the breast surgery is for cosmetic purposes or reconstruction after mastectomy.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Symptoms of the lymphoma include fluid buildup and painful swelling around the implant. Sometimes there may be lumps in the breast or armpit. To diagnose ALCL, physicians obtain fluid from the breast and test it for CD30, a substance which indicates lymphoma is present.
Treatment includes removing the implant and the capsule of scar tissue surrounding it. However, if the cancer has spread a patient will need additional treatment such as chemotherapy and possibly radiation.
If you or a loved one developed lymphoma from textured implants or became injured by a defective medical device, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in products liability cases, who has the resources to vigorously pursue justice on your behalf. Contact attorney Chris Shakib at (904) 722-2228 for a free consultation.