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Textured Breast Implant Design May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer Relapse: Study

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Amid continuing concerns about the potential side effects of textured breast implants, which have been linked to the development of a rare type of lymphoma in the surrounding tissue, the findings of a new study suggest the design may also increase the risk of breast cancer relapse among women who received the implants after a mastectomy.

In a report published last week in the medical journal JAMA Surgery, South Korean researchers warn that women who received textured breast implants following breast cancer treatment faced three times the risk of relapse and lower survival rates compared to women who received breast implants with smooth surfaces.

The study was conducted at a center in Seoul, South Korea, looking at data on 650 women who underwent 687 breast implant procedures, including tissue expanders and breast reconstruction, from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2016. Their mean age was 43.5 years. Of the total cases, 274, or just under 40%, involved smooth implants, and the remaining 60% involved textured versions.

According to the findings, textured implants were linked with three times the risk of a statistically significantly lower disease-free survival rate. That difference remained even once researchers adjusted for their estrogen receptor status and tumor staging.

“This cohort study found that use of textured implants in reconstruction appears to be associated with recurrence of breast cancer,” the researchers concluded. “Further investigation is required to verify these results.”

The findings come on the heals of several massive textured breast implant recalls issued after the design was linked to the development of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), which is believed to be the result of an inflammatory response to certain textured designs.

Now commonly referred to as breast implant-associated ALCL, this injury is not the same as breast cancer, but actually a form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The FDA has identified at least 733 cases of BIA-ALCL, with at least 620 linked to one specific textured breast implant design sold by Allergan.

As a result, Allergan issued a breast implant recall for its textured Biocell implants last year, and now faces a growing number of product liability lawsuits brought by women diagnosed with BIA-ALCL, as well as class action claims brought on behalf of women who had the textured breast implants removed due to concerns about the cancer risk. As breast implant recall lawyers continue to review and file claims in the coming months and years, it is widely expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of cases will be involved in the litigation.

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