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Textured Breast Implants And The Risk Of Cancer

October 12, 2021
Colson Hicks Eidson

Women get breast implants for two reasons – enhancement or reconstruction.

Over the years various manufacturers of breast implants have been held accountable to the recipients when the implants were defective in some way or caused an illness that was not anticipated.

The earliest reported case of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) was in 1997. As of 2020, there had been 733 confirmed cases of BIA-ALCL worldwide including 36 deaths.

Allergan Pharmaceuticals is the manufacturer of breast implants most often linked to incidents of BIA-ALCL. In particular, recipients of Allergan’s Biocell textured breast implants are most likely to develop cancer.

Due to the high incidence of BIA-ALCL in recipients of its textured breast implant, Allergan voluntarily recalled the Biocell textured implants in July of 2019. The recall leaves many women who already have textured breast implants wondering what they should do.

At Colson Hicks Eidson, our Miami Allergan breast implant attorneys help people who have been damaged by defective breast implants. We routinely let manufacturers know that if they produce defective products that cause harm to consumers they can expect severe consequences.

What is a Textured Breast Implant?

The shell of breast implants can be either textured or smooth.

  • Breast implants with smooth shells are round.
  • Breast implants with textured shells are teardrop-shaped.

The textured surface is designed so that body tissue grows into the surface of the implant to keep it from slipping. Textured implants are less commonly used than round implants.

How Textured Breast Implants Cause Cancer

Although it is not known why the textured breast implant causes BIA-ALCL, cancer develops in a similar place in all breast implant recipients. BIA-ALCL is a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that forms in the scar tissue and fluid near the implant.

Even though BIA-ALCL can spread and cause further damage to the body – including death, the cancer is often successfully treated with the removal of the breast implant and surrounding scar tissue.

What to Do if You Have a Textured Breast Implant

The risk of developing BIA-ALCL is still extremely low. There are up to 11 million women in the world with breast implants, yet less than 10 women are diagnosed with BIA-ALCL each year. It is generally not recommended to have a textured breast implant removed if you are having no issues with it.

It is important to monitor the implant and surrounding area for any of the following symptoms which may indicate a problem. Symptoms may not develop until many years after insertion of the implant.

  • Excessive fluid retention
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Changed appearance
  • Lumps
  • Rash
  • Hardening of breast tissue

For a period of time following the recall of the Biocell textured breast implants in 2019, Allergan agreed to provide smooth replacement breast implants for those who were asymptomatic but chose to remove the textured implants. However, Allergan would not cover the cost of the surgery to remove and replace the implants.

How You Can Recover If You Acquired BIA-ALCL From A Breast Implant

If you got a textured breast implant from Allergan or another manufacturer and you were diagnosed with breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, you can make a product liability claim against the manufacturer of your breast implant. You can recover the costs you incurred as a result of your diagnosis – including lost income – and for your pain and anguish at having to deal with your cancer.

There are currently more than 600 BIA-ALCL cases pending against Allergan. Because the cases make similar claims, they have all been consolidated by a New Jersey District Court in what’s called MDL (multidistrict litigation). The MDL is known as the Allergan Biocell Textured Breast Implant Products Liability Litigation.

The Miami product liability attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson are nationally recognized for their success against the manufacturers of defective or dangerous products. We represent women in Florida and across the US who have developed cancer from an Allergan breast implant. You can contact us here to schedule a free consultation or call our office at 305-476-7443.