Despite the soaring popularity of breast augmentation surgery—it was recently recognized by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons as the most performed cosmetic surgical procedure of 2019—reports released by The World Health Organization and the FDA have sparked public debate on the safety of textured breast implants. These reports highlighted a possible connection researchers have identified between breast implants with textured surfaces and a type of cancer called ALCL.

The media has since been filled with stories and rumors about the supposedly high-risk nature of these types of implants—stories that are sure to strike fear and confusion in some of its audience. Given the climate, board-certified plastic surgeons and other experts in the cosmetic industry have sought to provide clarity on the subject.

What is BIA-ALCL?

You may have heard talk in the news about something called Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma or BIA-ALCL. This is a very rare and highly curable form of immune system cancer that can be found in scar tissue close to the site of implants. Common late-onset symptoms include fluid retention, swelling, skin bumps, or rashes.

Do Textured Implants Cause ALCL?

Textured implants do have a possible association with ALCL. However, the possibility is very slim, with the current lifetime risk estimated at 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 30,000. Only nine confirmed deaths in the United States have been linked to BIA-ALCL since it was first recognized two decades ago. To put things into perspective, statistics from 2017 showed that the odds of dying by freak accidents like falling from the stairs (1 in 1,662) or drowning in a swimming pool (1 in 5,732) could be higher than the probability of developing BIA-ALCL.

Why Are Textured Implants Desirable?

Depending on your cosmetic goals, weighing the pros and cons of each type of implant will be vital when making a final decision. Textured implants have a rougher surface, which allows them to better adhere to surrounding tissue. This reduces the chance of them moving around or becoming distorted in shape while also lowering the risk of capsular contracture.

If you are considering breast augmentation in the Philadelphia area, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Scott Chapin can guide you through your options and help you develop the right breast surgery plan to meet your preferences. Give Chapin Aesthetics a call at (267) 880-0810 or fill out the contact form to set up an appointment.