Cosmetic surgeons peak body on TGA ban of textured breast implants

The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery

Australia’s peak body for cosmetic surgeons advises patients not to be alarmed or to misinterpret the TGA’s decision to ban certain textured breast implants.

The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS) Safety Committee Chair Dr Daniel Fleming said the risk of developing breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) has not changed.

“The ban has not been made because the risk of getting ALCL has changed; the risk of ALCL remains very low for all implants including those that are now no longer available,” Dr Fleming said. 

“The TGA has decided to ban one type of implant that has only had a single case of non-malignant ALCL in Australia and only one other non-malignant case in the world.

“The risk of a patient who already has these implants of developing ALCL is so small it cannot currently be reliably calculated.

“We now know that most patients who are diagnosed with ALCL have these cells only in the fluid around the implant. This is not a cancer but a pre-cancerous condition which, if untreated may, in some patients, develop into a cancer,” Dr Fleming said.

  • The risk of developing invasive, cancerous ALCL in a patient with the banned implants is in the order of 1 in 10,000 or less.
  • For comparison, the risk of any woman developing breast cancer with or without implants is 1 in 8 in Australia and the risk of developing any lymphoma is 1 in 50.
  • On the worst-case interpretation of the data, the risk of a patient with the banned implants of getting ALCL is 1 in 1000. This means that 99.9 per cent of patients with these implants will not get ALCL.
  • At least 80-90 per cent of those patients will have the abnormal cells only in the fluid around the implant and this is not a cancer.
  • Fluid only patients have a pre-cancerous condition which, if untreated, may, in some patients, develop into a cancer.
  • These patients are completely cured by removal of the implants and the capsule or membrane around them.

The advice for all patients with breast implants has not changed as a result of the TGA’s decision.

  • There is no need to remove implants because the risks are low.
  • If you have no symptoms, no additional action is recommended other than routine breast checks.
  • If you develop swelling of one or both breasts, or find a lump you should see your doctor for investigation.
  • If you have any questions you should contact your doctor.

More patient information is available on the ACCS website: http://www.accs.org.au/.

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