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Plastic Surgery Blog

Breast Implant Removal Is an Option


Are you worried about ALCL or breast implant illness? At Bancroft Feldman we have heard from many patients who have concerns following the FDA's recognition of ALCL and the Allergan recall of biocell textured implants and tissue expanders. If you have concerns about your health or your breast implants, there is a step you can take to mitigate your anxiety and bypass any issues with your health in the future. This is breast implant removal.

Breast Implant Concerns

Many of our patients worry about how their implants may affect their health which is normal when the news media is regularly reporting about health scares and recalls. We understand this. However, we also like to put any concerns in context. It's important to understand that:

ALCL, or anaplastic large cell lymphoma, is not breast cancer. It's a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. ALCL is more common in children and young adults than adults, in fact. Only 359 cases have ever been reported in 55 years of breast implant surgeries. Compare that small number to the 692 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer every day in the U.S., and you will get a sense for how rare it is.

The FDA has stated only that there is an association between breast implants and ALCL. It has not stated that breast implants cause ALCL.

ALCL seems to be linked to textured - not smooth - implant shells. The shells of textured implants have a rough surface that was designed to help them stick to the surrounding tissue in order to remain in place. The theory is that ALCL is a result of low level implant biofilm infection from the irritation that results due to the textured shells.

Dr. Feldman doesn't placed textured implants. Nearly 100% of the breast implants that Dr. Feldman has placed have had smooth shells. No ALCL cases have been documented with smooth shell implants and no prior exposure to textured devices.

Breast Implant Removal

The FDA's recommendation is that, for breast implant patients not experiencing symptoms: there "is no need to change your routine medical care and follow-up." When used as indicated, the FDA confirms that breast implants carry a reasonable assurance of safety.

Allergan's recalled BIOCELL® Textured Breast Implants and Tissue Expanders are not considered safe for placement, however. Breast implant illness is also a concern for some patients. This is a term for a broad spectrum of symptoms women believe are linked to their breast implants.

All patients are different in how they react to breast implants physically and emotionally. While one patient may be very satisfied and not worried at all about what is currently in the news, another may feel anxious and desire to reverse the surgery, if only for peace of mind.

At Bancroft Feldman we want to be as transparent as possible about the risks and outcomes of the surgeries we perform, including breast augmentation. We welcome discussions either with our patients or patients who had their surgeries done by other physicians. If you have either smooth-shelled or textured implants and want to discuss removal, we invite you to make an appointment with Dr. Feldman to talk about what is involved with removal surgery.

Removal surgery is still surgery and carries with it the same risks and expenses as the augmentation surgery did. It is not covered by insurance, and it's not indicated for patients without symptoms. Given that understanding, however, there is nothing like the feeling of control and satisfaction that comes from making the right decision for your body. If you think breast implant removal will make you feel better, we understand that. Dr. Feldman is here and ready to help you with that process when you are ready.

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