Breast Implant Associated – Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA – ALCL)
Breast Implant Associated – Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA – ALCL) is a very rare (and treatable!) type of lymphoma that can develop around breast implants. It was first described in 1997. To date, about 359 cases have been described, about 126 of these in the United States. This is NOT breast cancer. This is a lymphoma ( a cancer of the immune system) that involves the scar tissue capsule that surrounds the implant. The incidence of this is extremely rare – about 1 in 300,000 women who have breast implants. The majority, but not all of the cases, involve textured surface implants. It does not seem to matter whether the implant is filled with silicone gel or saline.
All women should undergo self-examinations as well as have their physicians check their breasts on a regular basis. Patients who notice pain, lumps, swelling, fluid collections or unexpected changes in breast shape, including asymmetry, should contact their plastic surgeon. The average time after surgery to onset of BIA- ALCL is about ten years.
Treatment in most cases is limited to the removal of the implant, and the scar tissue capsule. The prognosis after treatment is excellent in the vast majority of cases.