In July 2019, textured breast implants manufactured by Allergan were recalled globally after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) became aware of an increased number of cancer cases linked to the medical devices. Marketed as “BIOCELL,” the textured breast implants and tissue expanders have been used to treat millions of breast cancer survivors, providing women with natural-looking and feeling breasts.
However, the Allergan implants are being recalled due to an elevated risk of large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL. Although found in the breast, BIA-ALCL is a cancer of the immune system, not actual breast cancer. The attorneys at Atkins & Markoff are keeping a close eye on this story and prepared to fight for your rights. If you have a BIOCELL breast implant, please contact us today so we can get started on your case right away.
What Are Textured Breast Implants?
Textured breast implants have become a staple in recent years because they have a fuller bottom, appearing more like a natural breast. They have a rough outer shell that feels somewhat like sandpaper, a design that helps the implant adhere to surrounding breast tissue. Allergan breast implants are much less likely to move around and look distorted, a common complaint of past breast implant patients.
Why Are They Being Recalled?
According to the FDA, Allergan breast implants have been linked to a breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma. The report indicates that these specific textured implants are six times more likely to cause cancer than other textured implants. As of right now, there are only 573 known cases of BIA-ALCL worldwide, even though millions of women have these implants.
It should be noted that the recall does not include Allergan’s other breast implants or tissue expanders (NATRELLE and MICROCELL, respectively).
Do I Have a Case?
Perhaps the most difficult part is that doctors do not know what, exactly, causes this rare form of lymphoma. Some believe it is caused by an inflammatory response to the breast implant, resulting in the immune cells multiplying and becoming cancerous. Others stand behind the theory that the immune system is reacting to the bacterial ‘biofilm’ found on the top of the implant.
If you have an Allergan BIOCELL textured breast implant, the first step is to discuss your case with your doctor. As of right now, doctors and the FDA are telling women without symptoms to wait and monitor their condition. If you have no symptoms, removing the implant preemptively could be more damaging than leaving it. However, if you have noticed pain, redness or swelling, asymmetry, or a new lump, talk to your healthcare provider immediately.
The FDA first learned of the potential connection between Allergan breast implants and lymphoma in 2011, but there was not enough information to determine if the risk was real. Now that we have seen nearly 600 cases of cancer linked to the implants, it is evident there is a problem. If you have been diagnosed with lymphoma or notice any of the symptoms mentioned above and you have an Allergan textured breast implant, please contact Atkins & Markoff right away.