If you received Allergan textured breast implants, you are likely extremely concerned about developing breast-implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a cancer of the immune system, which has been linked to textured implants. Last summer, Allergan Pharmaceuticals announced a recall of its textured Biocell breast implants and tissue expanders. So far, 33 women have died after developing cancer linked to the textured breast implants.
Here are four questions to ask your doctor if you have received breast implants:
1. What type of implants do I have?
Many women who received breast implants might not know the specific model or the company that manufactured their implants. Women can find a lot of information on their device identification card, which lists the style and the serial number of their implants. They can also call their surgeon’s office to get this information.
2. What symptoms should you watch out for?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), women should be watching for persistent pain and swelling around the implant. This is because the cancer doesn’t develop in the implant but in the fibrous scar tissue that forms around the implant. If you see any swelling in the breast or changes, you should contact your plastic surgeon right away. Doctors recommend women who have implants – whether they are textured or smooth – should schedule an annual visit with their plastic surgeon for a checkup.
3. What would an exchange surgery mean?
For most women, surgery is not as simple as removing the textured implants and putting in new ones. If you are concerned about developing cancer and wish to have the textured implants removed, your doctor may advise you to remove the scar tissue around the implant, which could be a more involved process. All surgery comes with risks and that is something to bear in mind. Women and their doctors should also decide what type of implants to switch to, which can be challenging in itself. Some women might decide to get their implants removed and not have them replaced.
4. Will implant removal be covered by insurance?
This is a question to which there are no clear answers yet, especially because the recall is relatively new. Allergan has said it will provide smooth replacement implants at no cost, but will not pay surgical fees.
Whether you want to get your Allergan textured implants removed to avert the risk of cancer or you have already developed cancer, our experienced defective medical device lawyers can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Call us for a free, comprehensive, and confidential consultation.