Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) Associated with Textured Breast Implants
NOTE TO DR HODGKINSON’S PATIENTS: If you have had surgery by Dr Hodgkinson then you have no need to worry. Dr Hodgkinson uses smooth walled breast implants only which have had no known link to ALCL
There will be ever increasing warnings in the news about the link between textured breast implants and ALCL (anaplastic large cell lymphoma). This is an extremely rare but very real malignancy that has been detected in approximately 400 patients to date throughout the world. Whilst no one has been able to fully determine why this occurs, the link is speculated to be bacterial contamination on the textured surface of the implant with the concept being the more texturing that is present, the greater the chance of bacterial contamination.
ALCL usually presents years post-operatively as swelling on the affected side due to an accumulation of fluid around the breast implant. The immediate treatment is to have a radiologist aspirate this fluid and send it to a pathology lab which is equipped to carry out the specialised tests required to detect the malignancy.
Luckily, Dr Hodgkinson has always been suspicious about the appropriateness of textured implants and only uses smooth walled breast implants. As more cases and more evidence surfaces about ALCL we should expect to see a drop in the use of textured implants. Of course, nothing is perfect and the same applies to breast implants. Some breast implants, however, have better safety track records than others. Smooth walled, saline filled implants would be the gold standard for proven safety over time.