Improved Technique May Limit Rare Breast Implant-Related Cancer

Dr. Mark Jewell, a leading plastic surgeon in Eugene, Oregon, and nationally renowned breast augmentation specialist, discusses concerns about BIA-ALCL.

Certain improved surgical techniques appear to limit the occurrence of a rare cancer related to breast implants, according to research performed by Dr. Mark Jewell, one of the top plastic surgeons in Eugene, Oregon, and some of his colleagues.

“Using proven surgical techniques designed to reduce bacterial contamination during breast augmentation procedures can significantly reduce the chances of a patient developing this disorder, called Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL),” Dr. Jewell says. “These are techniques I’ve used for more than 40 years during breast augmentation surgery at my Eugene practice and, to date, I’ve never had a primary breast augmentation patient develop an infection.”

BIA-ALCL is a highly treatable and rare disorder. Dr. Jewell, who has been involved with investigating it for more than 6 years, says the risk of developing the disease is about 1 out of every 30,000 patients who get textured breast implants. (Patients with smooth implants have virtually no risk of getting BIA-ALCL). That is a 0.003 chance. As a comparison, 1 of every 8 women develops breast cancer, or 12.5 percent. One in 3 women die from cardiovascular and stroke causes.

The professional societies for Plastic Surgery, ASAPS and ASPS, released a joint response regarding the data surrounding BIA-ALCL.

“Fortunately, we understand the cause of BIA-ALCL and know how to diagnose it and treat it,” says Dr. Jewell. “It’s important that people understand this disease is not breast cancer, but develops in the fluid around the breast implants.”

Most physicians agree that removing the breast implant and thoroughly evaluating the tissue and lymph nodes located near the breast effectively treats BIA-ALCL.

In addition to researching BIA-ALCL and the management of breast implant complications, Dr. Jewell and 7 other surgeons will publish a peer-reviewed, international, multicenter scientific study on 42,000 textured breast implants that were implanted with a protocol to prevent infection and biofilm contamination. Patients had a mean follow-up of 8.8…

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