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Buttock Implant Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) Risk Seen in New Study

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While researchers continue to focus on understanding the link between breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), which have been linked to certain textured implants, researchers indicate that they have identified the first case of the rare lymphoma developing in the tissues surrounding a gluteal implant. 

In a report published last month in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal (PDF), doctors from Keck Hospital at the University of Southern California describe what may be the first known buttock implant lymphoma case.

Like the vast majority of reported breast implant lymphoma cases, this case also appeared to be linked to the use of an implant with a textured surface area.

Although breast implants are widely believed to be safe and carry few risks, concerns have emerged in recent years about reports of a rare cancer that has developed around the implants in some women. The FDA first warned about case studies and epidemiological research that suggested there was a link between breast implants and ALCL in January 2011.

Last year, the agency then issued an update about emerging information on the breast implant lymphoma problems, and a number of independent studies have confirmed that the ALCL cancer risk is real, suggesting that it is more likely to occur among women who receive implants with larger surface areas and textured designs, which may result in inflammation and the development of lymphoma.

At least 457 confirmed cases have now been identified worldwide for the cancer commonly referred to as breast-implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

In this new case report, doctors outline the circumstances surrounding a case of gluteal implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (GIA-ALCL) found in a 49 year-old woman.

“The patient received bilateral textured silicone gluteal implants only a year prior to her diagnosis of GIA-ALCL,” the doctors note. “The patient later presented to the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department at our institution with ulceration at the site of her gluteal implants.”

The case report indicates that her condition deteriorated and she died despite aggressive chemotherapy. After chemotherapy, she was found to have ulceration of the skin, and the development of a mass in her left lung.

“This case helps to demonstrate that many texturized implants could potentially be at risk for ALCL and that in general the discussion should move from ‘breast implant-associated cancer’ to ‘implant-associated ALCL,’ to better encompass the full spectrum of disease as well as all those at risk with previous implanted materials,” the doctors determined. “Furthermore, this presentation was uniquely aggressive and presented extremely quickly after placement of the gluteal implants.”

Breast Implant Cancer Concerns

In June 2017, a study published in the medical journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery suggested that certain textured breast implants may increase the risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma anywhere from 10 to 14 times, when compared to smooth breast implants.

In October 2017, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Surgery warned that many breast implant cancer cases worldwide have likely not been reported, and noted that doctors and patients may not be aware of BIA-ALCL.

In March 2018, the FDA indicated that it was aware of more than 400 cases of breast implant-related cancer. As more information becomes public about the breast implant cancer cases, experts have warned that the number of cases reported will likely increase significantly.

This month, the FDA is holding a meeting of its General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel to discuss the benefits and risks of breast implants.

The FDA encourages healthcare professionals and patients to report suspected cases of BIA-ALCL to the agency’s MedWatch adverse event reporting program.

In addition, product liability lawyers in the U.S. are now reviewing other potential breast implant lymphoma lawsuits for women diagnosed with ALCL in recent years, alleging that manufacturers knew or should have known about the risk, yet withheld warnings from consumers and the medical community.

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