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Breast Implants and ALCL Video Gallery

Breast Implants and ALCL Videos

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This ALCL (Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma) update video includes answers to many of the most Frequently Asked Questions including:

  • Why is it called a lymphoma?
  • Why ALCL is not breast cancer?
  • What are the symptoms of ALCL?
  • How is the diagnosis of ALCL made?
  • How rare is ALCL? (34 cases in 10 million breast augmentation patients)
  • How is ALCL treated?
  • Do my implants need to be removed?
  • And additional information from the January 2011 FDA White Paper

What Are My Chances of Getting ALCL if I Get Breast Implants?

Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) is incredibly rare. In fact, the known ALCL cases are too few to say conclusively that breast implants cause the disease. Efforts over the past 25 years by all the world's major plastic surgery societies to raise awareness among members and to identify patients with ALCL have identified 34 unique cases worldwide among an estimated 10 million+ implanted devices. That’s about 1 in 300,000.

To put this in perspective: the chance that you will get hit by lightning at some time during your lifetime is 1 in 6250. That means you are 50 times more likely to get struck by lightning than to get ALCL with breast implants. On the other hand, the chance a developing a “real” breast cancer, with or without breast implants is 1 in 9.

Demographics of all Known Reported ALCL Cases

The demographics of the cases are as follows:

  • Age: Median 51 years old, Range 28-87 years old
  • Implant Type: Silicone 24, Saline 7, Not specified 3
  • Time from implant to ALCL diagnosis: Median 8 years, Range 1-23 years
  • Reason for Breast Implant: Reconstruction 11, Cosmetic 19, Not Specified 4

The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) and The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) have partnered with other international plastic surgery societies like The International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), to provide an organized way to report and characterize the diagnosis and treatment of ALCL since its discovery.

ALCL is Not Breast Cancer

Breast cancer dwarfs ALCL in both numbers of cases and lethality. Breast cancer has an incidence of 1 in 9 women. The actual breast cancer rate is a little higher, and this is why routine mammograms after age 40 are so important for early detection. The risk of getting breast cancer is about 700 times higher than the risk of getting struck by lightning.

The important points to keep in mind:

  • ALCL is very rare.
  • ALCL presents with symptoms:
    • increasing size
    • swelling
    • discomfort
    • fluid around the implant.
  • ALCL is not breast cancer.
  • ALCL treatment is available.

More Information About ALCL and Breast Implants

Since ALCL is very rare, updates are likely to be few and far between. For more information about ALCL and Breast Implants check for updates on our San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog's ALCL Updates Page, and the FDA's Questions and Answers about ALCL Page.

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