ALCL: What you need to know from the experts

Separating fact from fiction!

President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Professor Mark Ashton explains the link between textured breast implants and Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) and the recent decision by the FDA to not ban these devices.

Professor Ashton explains that when it comes to textured breast implants, not all are created equally.

In this respect, only a certain type of textured implants (macro textured) are connected to a higher risk of developing ALCL, in conjunction with other known risk factors.

“The evidence suggests that rough texturing allows bacteria to grow on the surface and over time , usually 7-10 years, this can lead to ALCL” Professor Ashton states. However, he explains that the development of ALCL is dependent on three factors:

  1. Genetic predisposition (there has only been one reported case of ALCL in asian women)
  2. How the implant is inserted (A critical factor is that the implant is contaminated by a particular type of bacteria, common in tap water)
  3. Rough surface to the implant

So what percentage of women have these at risk implants and why haven’t they been banned?

Around 20-25% of women with implants have Allergan macro textured implants and a further 5-10% have polyurethane coated implant.

Importantly, the risk factor with these implants are 1:2300 compared to 1:57000 for Mentor brand textured implants.
Despite the increased risk, the TGA and FDA is satisfied that these implants serve a legitimate role in breast surgery, particularly reconstruction and in this respect, the pros may outweigh the cons.

If you would like more information you can visit the TGA website here

Cosmetic Journey would like to thank Professor Mark Ashton, specialist Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon for his input into this blog post.


View Professor Mark Ashtons Profile

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