Regarding the FDA update from February 6, 2019
“Though the FDA indicates it has received 39 reports associated with smooth surfaces, to date there have been no confirmed smooth surface-only cases reports to PROFILE.”- excerpt from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), “FDA issues 2019 update on BIA-ALCL”
The anecdotal experience of many plastic surgeons, including myself… (Dr. Spiro)
There are many women who have undergone multiple breast implant surgeries. A significant percentage of these patients do not know the specifics of their implant history. It is suspected that a number of these patients have not only had prior textured surface implants but also did not undergo capsulectomy (removal of the scar layer of the original textured implant), but rather only a simple removal and replacement procedure.
This subset of women who ultimately changed to smooth surface implants without capsulectomy may not have fully reduced their risks of later development of BIA-ALCL. This may in part explain the 39 case reports with smooth surface implants.
FAQ answered by our Society
Q: What if a doctor is recommending textured implants to a patient?
A: The choice of implant type is ultimately a decision between an educated patient and her board-certified plastic surgeon. There may be certain circumstances where a textured implant is recommended for particular patients.
All patients should have a detailed conversation with their surgeon about the risks associated with textured implants, beyond what is published online or in pamphlet. Ultimately, there are instances where textured implants are the best choice for them.
Q: Why would my surgeon have recommended textured implants for me?
A: There are two primary reasons your surgeon may have recommended textured surface breast implants. First is that some data has shown a lower rate of capsular contracture (firm scar tissue formation around the implant). Second, all teardrop or anatomic shaped implants have a textured surface to help hold them in place. Some surgeons believe these implants can offer an enhanced shape for certain patients, perhaps with a reduced risk of rippling.
Q: Does ASAPS recommend against the use of textured implants?
A: The available data does not support discontinuance of textured implants. The best practice is always for the physician to discuss with each patient the known risks and potential complications associated with any procedure. It is important for the patient and her doctor to frankly discuss all options available, and the risks involved.
Q: Should patients have their implants removed because of BIA-ALCL?
A: Since BIA-ALCL has only been found with textured breast implants, smooth implant patients do not need to be concerned. For textured implant patients, neither the FDA nor any plastic surgery society currently recommends that women should preventatively remove textured breast implants to prevent BIA-ALCL. However, there are women who have been concerned enough about BIA-ALCL and have chosen to have their implants removed. There are some women who were already considering a breast implant revision, and the BIA-ALCL issue gave them one more reason to decide to proceed.
Q: Should women with breast implants be screened for BIA-ALCL?
A: There is no blood test to specifically screen for BIA-ALCL. The expert opinion is that asymptomatic women without breast changes do not require more than routine mammograms and breast exams. But if a patient experiences a change in her breasts – especially if there is swelling or a lump – she should undergo immediate examination, imaging, and consultation with a plastic surgeon. If there is fluid around the implant the fluid should be aspirated under ultrasound guidance and sent for analysis.
Q: Is there any assistance available to the patient?
A: The Mollenkopf Aesthetic Breast Reconstruction Fund and the BIA-ALCL Patient Assistance Fund can offer financial assistance to patients. Additionally, Sientra offers to cover lab testing for any seromas associated with their implants.
A Letter from Allergan
December 19, 2018
Dear Valued Implant Customer,
We wanted to update you regarding a recent change to the Allergan breast implant offering in some international markets. For U.S. based customers, there is no change.
After significant discussions with the Notified Body, which is responsible for granting the CE mark, Allergan was informed on December 14th that its CE mark renewals were not complete. As a result, the CE mark expired on December 16th.
Due to this expired CE Mark, Allergan stopped sales of its textured breast implant products in some international markets. Subsequently, Allergan was informed by ANSM, the French regulatory authority, that they are requiring the withdrawal of any remaining supply of textured breast implants in European markets. While Allergan is fully cooperating with the authority on their request, the Company stands behind the benefit/risk profile of our breast implant products and is working to restore international availability as soon as possible. The ANSM request, and this action, is not based on any new scientific evidence regarding these products.
In the meantime, Allergan’s smooth surface devices will remain available in these international markets.
For U.S. based customers, it is important to emphasize that Allergan’s smooth and textured breast implant products remain available. We’ve included below a few comments made by some leading US surgeons that may be of interest to you.
Thank you for your business. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
Jason Hammer MD, DDS Global Lead Plastics and Regenerative Medicine Allergan Medical Affairs
Ben Newcott Executive Director of Marketing, Allergan Plastics and Regenerative Medicine
Letters from our Society
- “Our Aesthetic Society member surgeons always strive to act in the best interest of our patients. There are times when patients prefer shaped implants for breast reconstruction following cancer or for aesthetic breast augmentation. Shaped implants are textured in order to hold the implants in place. It is extremely disappointing to see any regulatory body preventing surgeon access to this unique class of devices especially when the regulatory agency states that it ‘has not identified any immediate risk for the health of women having these implants.’ It is even more disappointing that this body would interfere in a woman’s right to choose what is best for herself.”
W. Grant Stevens, M.D., F.A.C.S
Clinical Professor of Surgery USC – Keck School of Medicine Division of Plastic Surgery Director USC Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, President Orange Twist, Co-Founder and CMO
- “As a US-based Board Certified plastic surgeon, as well as a Past President of The American Society for Aesthetic Surgery (ASAPS) and The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), I continue to believe that surgeons should continue to have access to smooth and textured breast implants. I interact with plastic surgeons and patients in the US and from around the world. We are fully aware of the risks and benefits of using textured devices. We discuss these tradeoffs with our patients during consultations. Sometimes, in some specific cases the textured device can be the best treatment option. “
Renato Saltz MD, FACS
Adjunct Professor of Plastic Surgery, University of Utah Past President, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) Past President, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) Diplomate American Board of Surgery and Plastic Surgery Fellow of the American College of Surgeons Founder & Chairman Image Reborn Foundation of Utah
Revised February 8, 2019.