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Breast Implants

What You Need to Know about Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL)


Not long ago there were big headlines about a possible link between breast implants and certain type of lymphoma known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Many media outlets, bloggers and other commentators wrongly claimed that there was now a connection between breast implants and breast cancer. That is simply not true. As the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says on the subject, “ALCL is not cancer of the breast tissue.”

So what is ALCL? This rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has been found in approximately 60 women with breast implants, of the 5 to 10 million women worldwide who currently have or who have had breast implants. As you can see, this is a very small fraction of the total number of women who have had a breast augmentation.

The Latest Research

After a literature review that identified 34 unique cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma in women with breast implants, the FDA  contacted other international regulatory agencies, scientific experts and breast implant manufacturers for more data and findings, and now knows of approximately 60 cases of this lymphoma in women who have had breast implants. The rate of occurrence in women with breast implants appears to be higher than the rate of occurrence in the female population as a whole, suggesting that women with breast implants may have a very low but increased risk of developing ALCL adjacent to a breast implant.

The FDA continues to track cases of ALCL and has asked medical providers to report all confirmed cases. Additional data are needed to fully understand the possible relationship between ALCL and breast implants.

If You Are Concerned

It is reasonable to think very carefully about your health and to understand all the possible complications that may occur following breast implant surgery. We are committed to working closely with our patients to ensure that they are informed of all known risks of breast augmentation. We will share the latest information on this and other developments in breast enlargement during your consultation appointment.

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July 28, 2014
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