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Who Pays for Breast Implant Recall Surgery?

There are various reasons why a person may need to remove their breast implants. One reason may be because your doctor has determined that doing so is medically necessary. A person may also want to have their breast implants removed if those implants have been recalled.

This is a real possibility, especially for those who have received textured breast implants. Commonly used after reconstructive surgeries, textured breast implants tend to move around less after placement. However, studies have shown that this type of breast implant leads to a higher risk of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled Allergan BIOCELL textured breast implants, though Allergan is not the only company that manufactures these implants. While the chance of developing this cancer is said to be rare, it is deadly if not treated promptly. Contact the Allergan breast implant recall attorneys at Bentley & More, LLP for a free case evaluation.

Who pays for removal?

Because textured breast implants are often used in the aftermath of reconstructive surgery, commonly after a mastectomy is performed due to breast cancer, the removal of the implant may be deemed “medically necessary.” If a doctor believes that removing the breast implant is necessary, a patient’s health insurance provider may be obligated to cover the cost of breast implant removal.

Typically, the development of BIA-ALCL will be considered a medically necessary reason to have the implant removed.

This can present a problem for women who have textured breast implants but have not developed BIA-ALCL. The FDA has not recommended the removal of textured breast implants for women who have not shown signs or symptoms of BIA-ALCL. In these cases, a woman’s insurance provider will not likely cover the removal surgery.

Will the company pay?

Last year, two women filed a class-action lawsuit against Allergan, the manufacturer of BIOCELL breast implants. The FDA has issued a recall for these breast implants, and the majority of cases of BIA-ALCL involve BIOCELL implants.

It makes sense that women who have these implants are nervous and may consider having them removed, even if they do not have any signs or symptoms of BIA-ALCL. Why would they want to wait and hope that cancer does not develop? Many of the women with textured breast implants got them after surviving cancer in the first place.

One of the women in the class-action lawsuit against Allergan says that it cost her tens of thousands of dollars to have the implants put in in the first place and then have them removed due to the risk of developing BIA-ALCL. The other woman in the lawsuit says that she has not yet had the implants surgically removed, but that she would never have gotten them in the first place if she knew about the risks of BIA-ALCL.

Allergan has said it would pay for the costs of new implants for those with BIOCELL implants, but that it would not cover the costs of the surgery.

What are the costs of removing breast implants?

The average cost of implant removal surgery is approximately $2,500. However, this does not take into account other costs associated with surgery (which can reach into the tens of thousand of dollars), including:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgery garments and bandages
  • Medical tests and x-rays

Right now, and pending the outcome of any lawsuits against textured breast implant manufacturers, the cost of removing these implants will fall on the consumer or their insurer.

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