Issues related to breast implants

Breast Clinic

Women are recommended to have regular health checks for their breast implants. If proper checks are not conducted, health-related issues can be ignored.

Breast implant rupture

If you experience symptoms, you should contact a doctor as it could mean there is a rupture in your breast implants.

Symptoms of breast implant rupture

  • lumps or swelling in and around the breast region
  • a change in the shape of the breast
  • redness around the breast
  • pain and tenderness or a burning sensation in the breast area
  • enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit

Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

BIA-ALCL is a rare type of lymphoma that is found to be associated with breast implants – silicone or saline. It is a rare sub-type of T-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL), one of four sub-types of ALCL found in a small number of cases world-wide.

What causes BIA-ALCL

When breast implants are placed in the body, they are inserted behind the breast tissue or under the chest muscle. Over time, a fibrous scar called a capsule develops around the implant, separating it from the rest of the breast. ALCL is usually found next to the implant itself and contained within the fibrous capsule. Women who have textured implants compared to a smoother implant may be more likely to develop BIA-ALCL.

Symptoms of BIA-ALCL

  • swelling
  • lump
  • pain
  • increase of the breast size

What are the treatment options for BIA-ALCL

Breast imaging is required to further investigate the breast implants if BIA-ALCL is suspected. If imaging shows more than minimal fluids around the implants, an ultrasound should be carried out to diagnose the BIA-ALCL. If results show BIA-ALCL is positive, it is advisable to remove the breast implants.

Total capsulectomy

Total Capsulectomy involves first creating an insertion in the capsule and removing the implant. This is then followed by surgically removing all the scar tissue (capsule) which would include any lining that is fused along the ribs and lungs.  

En-bloc capsulectomy

En-bloc capsulectomy is a French term for ‘as a whole’. Through this surgery, your breast surgeon removes the implant along with the scar tissue capsule (naturally formed as the body’s immune response to a foreign object) as a whole. The goal of this procedure is to take out the unit as a whole to protect against any silicone spillage.

Further treatment

Typically surgery alone is sufficient with no additional treatment required. Although, if the disease spreads over to the lymph nodes or adjacent tissues, the patient may then need radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or stem cell transplant therapy to manage it. However this is a very rare occurrence.

How regularly should I get my breast implant screening done?

There is no set time frame for when you need a MRI or ultrasound for your breast implants. However, if you develop any symptoms or have concerns, you should speak with a doctor or consultant. For women who are over 40, you must continue to have your annual breast screening done.

Breast Clinic
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