Is there a connection between breast implants and cancer? Many breast implant patients have been asking this question in light of a recent breast implant recall by Allergan, one of the leading breast implant manufacturers. The breast implants were recalled by Allergan because the FDA detected a link between a specific type of implant and the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a rare cancer of the immune system.
While the specific type of breast implant that was recalled only slightly increases the risk of developing BIA-ALCL, it is nevertheless a cause for concern for anyone who has gotten implants in the past or is currently considering whether or not to get breast implants. Dr. Leo Lapuerta, a plastic surgeon working in Houston, Katy, and Pearland, Texas, has spoken to many concerned breast implant patients who have been wondering whether they are at risk for cancer. Below, learn more about the possible link between breast implants and cancer.
What Type of Breast Implants Were Recalled By Allergan?
Allergan did not recall all of their breast implants. They only recalled textured implants, which are breast implants that feature textured silicone and polyurethane outer shells. Textured implants are used by plastic surgeons because they tend to not move around as much inside the breast, making it less likely for the implant to become poorly positioned. The textured surface develops scar tissue in the area surrounding the implant, which also causes the implant to stay firmly in place.
How Do I Know If I Have Textured Breast Implants?
Textured implants are not very common, as most plastic surgeons opt for traditional saline or silicone breast implants. That being said, during your consultation, your plastic surgeon discussed what type of breast implant they would recommend to give you the best results possible. If you cannot remember what type of implant was used, contact them and ask. Plastic surgeons keep detailed records of each procedure they perform, and it should be easy to check.
What Do I Do If I Have Textured Breast Implants?
If you have textured breast implants, it is in your best interest to get them removed or replaced as soon as possible. While textured implants only slightly raise the risk of developing BIA-ALCL, you do not want to take any chances. Reach out to your plastic surgeon or find a new plastic surgeon to replace the textured implants with a different type of breast implant, or remove the implant entirely.
Is There a Link Between Saline and Silicone Breast Implants and Cancer?
Saline and silicone have been used and studied for a very long time and have proven to be safe. The first breast implant procedure occurred over 50 years ago in the early 1960s, giving experts generations of past patients and data to review to try to find any link to cancer. As of today, no statistically significant link between breast implants and cancer has been found.
Textured implants were introduced much more recently in the mid-1980s, meaning that silicone and saline implants have been in use for over 20 years longer than textured implants. The recent discovery that textured implants present a slight risk for cancer will lead to further research regarding saline and silicone implants, but there is nothing to be worried about. If you had saline or silicone breast implants in the past and are concerned, contact your plastic surgeon to discuss possible options and next steps.
Should I Remove or Replace My Saline or Silicone Implants?
Since there is no current connection between saline and silicone breast implants and cancer, patients are not advised to replace or remove their saline or silicone implants. These implants are safe, so there is no reason to put your body through the stress and recovery time needed to remove or replace your existing breast implants.
Request a Breast Implant Consultation with Dr. Lapuerta
If you are still worried about a possible link between breast implants and cancer, you should consider talking with a plastic surgeon with expertise in breast implants. Dr. Lapuerta is a triple-board-certified plastic surgeon who has been performing breast implant procedures for over two decades. Dr. Lapuerta is lauded in the community for his commitment to his patients, taking the time to communicate with patients to make sure they know exactly what to expect. Regardless of whether you already have breast implants or are considering getting breast implants, Dr. Lapuerta can clearly explain any and all associated risks that come with implants, including any possible connection between breast implants and cancer. To learn more or to schedule a breast implant consultation, contact Dr. Lapuerta today via our online form or by calling (713) 489-0169.