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What is Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma?

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a very rare cancer of the immune blood cells that surrounds a breast implant. It’s not to be confused with breast cancer, but it is associated with certain types of breast implants. This cancer is fairly slow-moving and can usually be cured with surgery.

What Causes BIA-ALCL to Develop?

While no known cases of BIA-ALCL have developed from smooth breast implants, cases have come from breast implants that have textured surfaces. There’s about one case of BIA-ALCL in every 86,000 patients with lightly textured breast implants, and one case in every 3,000-4,000 patients who have very roughly textured breast implants. For this reason, so-called “macrotextured breast implants” have been removed from the market globally as of 2019.

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FAQ

I have textured breast implants. I don’t see any symptoms, but I’m still very concerned. What should I do?

Which implant is more likely to cause BIA-ALCL: saline or silicone?

I have textured breast implants. I don’t see any symptoms, but I’m still very concerned. What should I do?

If you have textured implants but are experiencing no adverse symptoms, there’s likely no need to be worried. Be sure to schedule yearly reviews with your physician to ensure you stay as healthy as possible.

Which implant is more likely to cause BIA-ALCL: saline or silicone?

Whether a breast implant is saline or silicone makes no difference when it comes to BIA-ALCL development. The main factor seems to be whether or not the breast implant is textured or not.

What are the Symptoms of BIA-ALCL?

The most common symptom of BIA-ALCL is swelling in one or both breasts due to fluid collection. This symptom can occur any time after the breast implants are placed, but tends to develop 8-10 years after placement.

Symptoms can also be characterized by asymmetry or a lump in the armpit or breast. If you have textured breast implants and you notice any of these symptoms, it’s very important to undergo an examination and appropriate imaging.

Treatment

Once a diagnosis of BIA-ALCL is determined, the only course of treatment is to undergo surgery. This is one of the procedures that Dr. G is known for. The breast implants will be removed, as well as the scar tissue that surrounds them. For most patients, surgery is the complete cure for BIA-ALCL—but in more rare cases, the cancer will have already spread and the patient will need to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

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Dr. G for BIA-ALCL Surgery

Dr. Joseph Grzeskiewicz (“Dr. G” to his patients) is well-known in the San Diego and La Jolla area for his high quality breast revision procedures. This includes BIA-ALCL surgery. Dr. G is a board-certified plastic surgeon who has been in practice for over 20 years. He—along with his experienced staff—build a strong relationship based on trust and honesty with every patient. 

Dr. G does his own pre-op, post-op, consults, and follow-ups, never delegating these important duties to a nurse. We also allow our patients to contact us 24/7, and we provide a detailed list of everything you’ll need for your surgery. If you’re looking for an exceptional BIA-ALCL surgeon, please contact our office today to book a consultation with Dr. G. 

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