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A product liability lawsuit alleges that problems with Mentor MemoryShape Siltex breast implants caused a Pennsylvania woman to develop breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), which is a rare form of cancer that has been linked to certain textured designs.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Christine McGee in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on May 13, naming Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon, Inc. and Mentor Worldwide LLC as the defendants.
BIA-ALCL is a rare form of lymphoma that develops in the tissue surrounding certain types of breast implants with textured surfaces. Most cases of the cancer have been linked to the use of Allergan’s BioCell breast implant designs, however, a small number have also been linked to Mentor implants as well.
In July 2019, Allergan was forced to issue a worldwide breast implant recall for its entire line of “Biocell” textured breast implants. The recall came after the FDA released data in 2019 indicating it had found 573 known cases of BIA-ALCL diagnosed worldwide, including at least 33 deaths.
While most of the lawsuits resulting from the incidents have targeted Allergan, McGee indicates her case of BIA-ALCL was associated with Mentor’s textured MemoryShape Siltex breast implants.
According to the lawsuit, McGee was implanted with MemoryShape breast implants in January 2017, as part of a mastectomy to prevent breast cancer, which ran in her family according to genetic testing.
However, in May 2019 she underwent a right breast ultrasound after the development of acute swelling. Doctors discovered the right breast implant had ruptured and she underwent a surgery in June 2019 to have the implants replaced. Testing results came back indicating she had developed BIA-ALCL and underwent removal surgery in July 2019.
The lawsuit alleges the manufacturers knew of the risk of BIA-ALCL associated with their implant design, but failed to provide adequate warning to McGee or her doctors.
“Christine McGee suffered tremendously from the pain of her explant surgery, symptoms of her BIA-ALCL disease, and recovery,” the lawsuit states. “Prior to her development, diagnosis and treatment of ALCL, Plaintiff enjoyed an active, full life, and did not experience the symptoms which arose after the Mentor Breast Implants were placed in her body. Subsequently, she endured pain, swelling, and embarrassment of her deformed chest.”
While only a few similar Mentor breast implant lawsuits have been filed, there are currently hundreds of Allergan Biocell breast implant lawsuits pending in the federal court system, which have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings in New Jersey. However, as product liability lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming weeks and months, the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to grow.