Macrotextured breast implants are at the forefront of a recent international medical controversy that has turned political. Some countries, such as France have completely banned the usage of macrotextured breast implants due to their concerns that they can cause a rare form of cancer.
The U.S., on the other hand, is refusing to perform a blanket ban. The FDA states that the current available evidence is inconclusive, and they will instead require women considering breast implants to receive a more strongly worded warning about the potential dangers of the product.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at what a macrotextured breast implant is, why some countries are banning it, and what are the associated risks.
What Is a Macrotextured Breast Implant?
A macrotextured implant is a breast implant that has a textured and irregularly shaped surface. When implanted into the human body, it facilitates adhesion to the surrounding breast tissue and makes it very stable. This helps ensure that it stays precisely where the surgeon put it.
In the hands of an experienced surgeon, a macrotextured implant can help them shape and create a more natural looking breast.
In comparison to other types of implants that have different surfaces, macrotextured implants have a low rate of capsular contraction, rotation, and rippling.
So why are some countries like France banning them? And why hasn’t the U.S. followed suit?
Why Did France Ban the Macrotextured Implants?
On Friday, April 5th of 2019, the country of France banned macrotextured and polyurethane breast implants. The ban extends to several types of textured implants and is the first of its kind in the world.
Since 2011, 59 French women have developed a rare case of cancer called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL). France’s National Agency for Safety of Medicine and Health Products (ANSM) has found that many of those women suffering from the condition had textured implants that are designed to adhere to breast tissue.
It’s hard to say exactly why the French government reacted with such a heavy-handed blanket ban, especially when there isn’t much scientific evidence that links textured breast implants to an increased rate of a rare form of cancer. Many other regulatory bodies in other countries including the US have looked at the same data and decided not to restrict any implants.
Microtextured vs. Macrotextured Implants
Interestingly enough, France still allows for the sale of microtextured implants. The critical difference between the two is that macrotextured implants have a larger surface pattern and depths than microtextured ones.
Macrotextured implants have also been scientifically shown to adhere better to breast tissue, thereby immobilizing the implant and lessening the chances of it moving around or shifting position after the surgery.
Potential Risks of Breast Implants?
One of the most significant risks for women getting breast implants is the development of a rare form of cancer called Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This type of cancer affects the cells of the immune system, and is found in the scar tissue that surrounds the breast implant. Around 457 women in the U.S. alone have been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL, and nine of them have died so far.
What is BIA-ALCL?
Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma is not a form of breast cancer. It’s actually a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or cancer that affects the immune system.
It occurs when a patient’s white blood cells, which are used to fight off infections, start to rapidly multiply out of control.
BIA-ALCL can start to form and build up in the scar tissue that surrounds the implant. It does not form around the implant itself.
Risk and Signs of BIA-ALCL?
BIA-ALCL is a very rare form of cancer that has been associated with textured breast implants. It’s been estimated that the lifetime risk of developing this disease is around 1 in 3,000 and 1 in 120,000 depending on the type of implant. To put that number in perspective, breast cancer affects 1 out of every 8 women in America. BIA-ALCL is much rarer than breast cancer.
If you have textured breast implants, there are a few things you can do to be on the safe side. First off, be sure to keep your scheduled post-operative surgery appointments until your surgeon is satisfied with your healing progress. If you notice any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with your surgeon immediately:
- Change in the shape of the breast
- Pain in the breast area
- Swelling around the breast
Breast Implants in Dallas
If you have any questions about textured implants or would like a second opinion, give Dr. Adams a call at (214) 965-9885 or schedule an appointment online. Dr. Adams is a Board-Certified plastic surgeon who will sit down with you and answer any questions you might have regarding your current or new breast implants.