Many women receive breast augmentation surgery every year, and the majority of these procedures are successful with few side effects. However, certain breast implants may lead to the development of lymphoma – textured breast implants manufactured by Allergan. While this cancer is treatable, it may cause significant damage to a patient’s health and wellness, as well as her financial situation. Contact an Allergan breast implant cancer lawyer if you’ve been affected by the national recall.
Recalled Breast Implants and Tissue Expanders
Experts have long suspected that textured breast implants can lead to the development of certain cancers, with reports as early as 2011 leading to a push for further research. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recall for these breast implants and tissue expanders produced by the manufacturer Allergan.
The following textured breast implants are part of this recall. If you believe that your surgeon used these products during your augmentation, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
- Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped Silicone-Filled breast implants
- Natrelle Saline-Filled breast implants
- Natrelle Silicone-Filled breast implants
- Natrelle Inspira Silicone-Filled breast implants
In addition, the following tissue expanders are part of this recall. Tissue expanders are sacs that surgeons use to stretch the breast skin before implant insertion.
- Natrelle 133 Tissue Expander with Suture Tabs
- Natrelle 133 Plus Tissue Expander
BIA-ALCL Signs and Symptoms
The type of cancer that patients with textured breast implants develop is breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL for short. Typically, symptoms of BIA-ALCL do not manifest until years after the initial surgery – most often after 8 to 10 years. You may notice the following symptoms if you develop BIA-ALCL.
- A skin rash covering the surface of the breast
- Asymmetry or breast enlargement
- Lumps in the breasts or the armpit
- Fluid collection around the implant
- Hardening of the breast
Not all breast augmentation patients who receive textured implants will develop BIA-ALCL, but the risk is still present. If you believe you have a recalled breast implant, visit your surgeon as soon as possible. He or she will examine you for symptoms of BIA-ALCL and determine the best course of action.
How Do Doctors Treat BIA-ALCL?
If you do not have BIA-ALCL, your doctor will make a decision as to whether or not you should have implant removal surgery. Depending on your situation, the surgery may be unnecessarily invasive. Typically, doctors do not advocate for removal surgery unless you show BIA-ALCL symptoms.
If you do show symptoms of this cancer, you will begin treatment immediately. BIA-ALCL is very treatable when a doctor catches it early, so it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice any symptoms. Treatment of BIA-ALCL can involve the following.
- A PET or CT scan to determine the stage and the extent of the disease
- Breast implant removal surgery if the cancer has not spread past the implant
- Lymph node testing and biopsies
- Blood tests and bone marrow biopsies
- Chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, or radiation therapy for advanced cases
Filing a Lawsuit for BIA-ALCL Damages
While BIA-ALCL is treatable when a doctor detects your symptoms early, the disease can have a profound impact on you. You may have to pay for expensive medical bills you were not prepared for. You may have to miss work during your recovery and treatments. BIA-ALCL treatment can be invasive and painful, especially surgery and chemotherapy.
In these situations, you could file a lawsuit against Allergan for your damages. Through a lawsuit in civil court, you can collect compensation for the damages you sustained related to the injury. These damages can be economic, such as medical bills, and non-economic, such as chronic pain and suffering. Contact an attorney working on BIA-ALCL litigation to discuss your legal options
Not all breast implants result in the development of this cancer, but textured breast implants do. If you received a textured breast implant or your surgeon used an Allergan tissue expander during your procedure, visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will assess your symptoms and determine if you developed BIA-ALCL from the implant. If your diagnosis comes back as positive, you may be eligible for financial compensation.