Each year thousands of women undergo breast implant surgery for a variety of reasons, with many such implant operations performed following mastectomy for breast cancer. In these operations, a pouch roughly the shape of the patient’s natural breast and containing saline, silicon or some other substance is inserted into the cavity left by the removed breast tissue and the remaining natural skin is over-sewn to recreate the normal size and shape of the breast. Regardless of the inner content of a breast implant, the outer surface of an implant may be either “smooth” or “textured.”
In a “smooth” breast implant, the outer covering of the implant is manufactured in such a way as to make the covering smooth so the breast will look and feel as close to natural as possible. Smooth implants are usually used for cases of breast augmentation surgery in the absence of cancer in order to make the breast larger or shaped differently.
In contrast, the outer envelope of a textured surface breast implant is “rough” or “ribbed” to insure that it will remain in its implanted position and thus avoid the “smooth surface” breast implant’s tendency to “settle” over time. Unfortunately, there is a growing body of evidence that textured surface implants may be linked to a rare type of cancer known as Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
In the October 6th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) it was reported that between July 7, 2019, and January 5, 2020 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had received reports of 160 new cases of breast cancer and 3 deaths after the victim had received a breast implant for either “cosmetic” reasons (e.g. breast augmentation) or following mastectomy for breast cancer. According to the article, this brings the number of reported BIA-ALCL cases following breast implants to “… 733 cases and 36 deaths from the disease. In nearly 500 of the cases, patients had received textured implants. [emphasis added]
More alarming news about textured breast implants and cancer came in the October 7th “Online First” edition of JAMA Surgery when investigators from South Korea reported they had found “a statistically significant association … between the use of a textured implant vs a smooth implant and decreased disease-free survival regardless of tumor stage and estrogen receptor status.” In layman’s terms, there is statistical evidence that breast cancer of any type is more likely to recur if a textured surface implant is inserted following a mastectomy for breast cancer.
Despite the fact that breast implant manufacturers and physicians have known about the increased rate of BIA-ALCL associated with textured implants, these devices are still being implanted on a daily basis. However, physicians are growing reluctant to use these devices and some are calling for a ban on textured surface implants. A ban on textured implants may be an important step in the right direction, but what about the thousands of women who have already received these dangerous implants?
If you received a textured breast implant after a mastectomy and later developed a recurrence of your cancer or developed BIA-ALCL, we invite you to contact the defective medical device lawyer at The Doan Law Firm to arrange a free review of the facts in your case and a discussion of the legal avenues that may be open to you.
When you contact The Doan Law Firm, there is never a charge of any kind for our staff to review the facts in your case or for you to speak directly with our defective medical device lawyer. Should you later decide that a lawsuit is in your best interests and that you would like to have us represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement that we are prepared to win for you.