Safety of Breast Implants
Article by Adam Rubinstein, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
About a week ago the FDA issued a notice explaining that there may be an association between breast implants and a very rare condition call ALCL. This condition, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, is extremely rare. In looking at the population of women with breast implants the FDA feels there may be a slightly higher risk of the occurrence of this problem.
Lets look at the numbers. The FDA has identified between 34 (in the USA) and 60 (worldwide) cases of ALCL in patients with breast implants. There are as many as 10 million women with breast implants worldwide. That means at worst there ALCL is currently reported in approximately one out of every 165,000 women with breast implants. To illustrate how rare that really is here are some stats that I found:
Odds of fatally slipping in the bath or shower: 1 in 2,232
Odds of dying from a car accident: 1 in 18,585
Odds of injury from fireworks: 1 in 19,556
Odds of injury from shaving: 1 in 6,585
Odds of dying from any kind of fall: 1 in 20,666
All of these far more likely than having breast implants and getting diagnosed with ALCL.
It is important to note that this disease is NOT breast cancer. In the cases identified by the FDA ALCL seems to have been found in the fluid and tissue that surround the implants, not in the breast tissue itself. This finding includes all types of breast implants, both saline and silicone filled.
The FDA has partnered with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to create a breast implant registry. The registry will be used to track cases of ALCL in women with breast implants. Currently the FDA still finds breast implants safe to use. No restrictions nor cautions have been issued regarding the use of breast implants. Breast implants are still considered safe to use by the FDA.