You may have heard news about a recent decision by the French authorities to withdraw certain types of breast implants from the market.
The implants affected are textured silicone and polyurethane foam implants.
The decision has been made because of a link between this type of implant and a rare form of cancer called ALCL.
Because the risk of ALCL seems to be related to the textured surface of the breast implants, they are suggesting that smooth implants should be used instead.
ALCL is not breast cancer and I wrote a blog post about it two years ago.
Our plastic surgery associations have produced a press release that you can read here.
There is no suggestion that anyone with breast implants should have the implants removed but they do say that patients should be informed of the symptoms of ALCL, which are a lump or swelling of the breast and if this occurs, to seek the help and advice of the implanting surgeon.
I would always encourage our patients to keep under regular follow up with us and if you have any symptoms or concerns, please get in touch as we would be happy to see you.
We have known about ALCL for some time and you may ask
‘why do we continue to use textured and polyurethane foam implants?’
This is a question that I will talk about in person on my Facebook Live broadcast at 7pm, so please join me and feel free to ask me any questions directly, or email me back and I will be happy to discuss this.
My personal view and the view of ISAPS (the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) is that it is the wrong decision to withdraw these implants from the market because they have well proven benefits over smooth implants.
“We believe that this is the wrong approach and less satisfactory for our patients”
Dirk Richter, MD, ISAPS President
Smooth breast implants were the first generation of breast implants and since their development, they have undergone many generations and improvements, largely in terms of their texturing and coating.
Textured and polyurethane foam implants have proven benefits in terms of greater stability, less chance of movement and rotation and less chance of capsular contracture.
These benefits should be weighed against the risk of ALCL, which is extremely small and studies have shown that the risk of ALCL is much less than risks that we all take daily like driving a car or going skiing on holiday.
We constantly weigh up risks in our lives and should be given enough information in order to make a balanced decision.
This is the basis of informed consent.
UK and the rest of Europe will continue to offer textured and polyurethane foam implants as well as smooth implants to patients and this is the practice we will follow at The STAIANO Clinic.
I believe that we should offer all options to our patients and allow them to make a balanced decision about what is right for them.
I hope that we can maintain an educated and informed response to this situation and not lose sight of the tremendous benefits associated with breast implants and the extremely low risk of ALCL as well as its very good prognosis in the rare cases where it is diagnosed.
I will keep you informed of any updates or developments as I hear about them.