Although modern breast implants have been around for many years, product safety questions continue to plague the surgery. The latest development last week occurred when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that it was investigating a possible link between breast implants and an increased risk of a rare cancer: anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. Quite frightening is the fact that as many as sixty women have developed the rare cancer, among the 5 million to 10 million worldwide with implants. The disease arises in scar tissue that forms around the breast implant, either silicone or saline implants, and is treatable.
The FDA stated that the risk of cancer is miniscule and women with implants do not need to undergo tests or have implants removed if they are not having problems. But, all individuals with breast implants should be aware of the symptoms of the anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL), which include swelling, pain, or lumps around the implants. The product safety concerns with the surgery has not resulted in diminishing popularity. In fact, breast augmentation surgery is the most popular elective cosmetic surgery in the country. This is in spite of the surgery’s product liability history. For example, the FDA banned silicone implants in 1992 because of fears that silicone leaking from the implants could trigger autoimmune disease or other health problems. The ban was lifted in 2006, but the US manufacturers were asked to continue to collect data on women and monitor implant safety. Since the ban has been lifted, nearly every patient electing for this surgery picks the silicone implants.
You can read more about the product liability concerns at LA Times.com.