Before having any kind of cosmetic surgery done, it’s important to understand all the possible implications to your personal health and wellbeing. Helping our patients or anyone who comes to Charlotte Plastic Surgery for a surgery consultation understand those implications is something we’re committed to. The severity of those implications could mean life or death for some patients, and this is the reason why we are adamant about always having a consultation prior to any cosmetic surgery or procedure. It is best practice to have your surgeon pre-qualify you for the procedure and make sure you are not at high risk for complications or side effects.
It’s also why we like to keep patients informed about any new data regarding surgical complications. To that end, you may have heard about a recent breast implant recall. What does this breast implant recall really mean, in particular for those who have recently had a breast augmentation? And, what steps should you take to make sure you’re not in any danger?
Here is a quick recap of the breast implant recall, and some broader thoughts about breast implant illness. Watch Dr. Finical on WBTV cover the issue and explain how he has been answering those concerned patient questions about the breast implant recall.
About the Breast Implant Recall
Here’s the headline you might have seen: Earlier this year, there was a voluntary recall of a certain type of breast implant, which has been linked to cancer. Specifically, the condition in question is breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma; when you hear people talk about breast implant illness, this is typically the condition they’re referring to.
The FDA estimates that about 450 women have exhibited signs of this condition, and around 33 women have died from it worldwide.
This is obviously a very sobering situation, and understandably, Charlotte Plastic Surgery has received a number of calls from patients who simply want to know: What should they do?
Our Expert Advice for Breast Implant Patients
Let’s break it down, starting with the most important question: Are your implants implicated in this breast implant recall? For the vast majority of patients, the answer is no.
It comes down to the type of implants you have. The basic categories are smooth-shell and textured; the former accounts for about 85 percent of all breast augmentation procedures in the United States. Textured implants, meanwhile, are more often used in reconstructive procedures or for patients with highly specific needs. Again, the textured implants only account for about 15 percent of what’s used in the U.S.
It’s these textured implants that have been linked with large cell lymphoma… specifically, textured implants made by the company Allergan. The problem with these implants is that, due to their shape, fluid tends to collect around the patient’s scar.
For women who are concerned about breast implant illness, we’d first advise reflecting on the particular type of implant you have; chances are it’s smooth, which means you’re not in this risk category. And for those who do have ongoing concerns, we’d recommend simply keeping an eye on your scar; if there’s a knot that appears on the scar, that’s something to have looked at by your doctor.
Note, however, that this is not breast cancer. It’s a very particular kind of cancer that forms around the implant. Also note that the risk here is extremely low; in fact, some plastic surgeons put the risk at about one in 30,000, even for those who do have this type of implant. So, the likelihood of developing this type of cancer is extremely rare.
The other critical thing to understand is that, if you do develop this form of cancer, treatment is fairly simple: By removing the implant, you will also eliminate cancer.
What the Breast Implant Recall Means for You
The FDA has asked that Allergan remove this product from the market; however, it is not requiring that anyone actually have their breast implants removed! The breast implant recall is strictly for the manufacturer, not for patients.
Again, if you are a patient and you have had textured breast implants from Allergan, these implants are safe for you to keep in place right now. The risks are very low, and at Charlotte Plastic Surgery, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep our patients in the loop.
A Commitment to Patient Safety
It’s important to us that all of our patients feel completely comfortable and confident with whatever cosmetic procedure they choose, breast implants or otherwise.
What does that mean specifically? First and foremost, we absolutely welcome our patients to contact us if they ever have any questions or concerns about potential side effects or risks. We can’t stress enough how unlikely it is that you’ll have this experience with cancer, but if you think you see any of the warning signs, by all means, make an appointment and we’ll take a look.
Additionally, we’ll emphasize again that we urge all of our patients to sit down with us before surgery, where we can have a one-on-one consultation. This consultation is important for many reasons; for one thing, it helps us to set the proper expectations and make sure everyone is on the same page about what the end result should be.
The consultation also helps us to qualify our patients. We don’t want to perform surgery on anyone who’s not in decent shape overall. If you have health problems that would put you at a higher risk for complication, we’ll advise you to hold off on your cosmetic procedure or to seek a less risky alternative.
Finally, the consultation process lets us talk with you not only about potential risks but also about steps you can take to minimize those risks. For example, we’ll generally advise our patients to stop smoking, to abstain from certain types of medication, and ensure they are at a healthy body weight before they have any kind of procedure done.
All of these steps are important for ensuring that you achieve the results you want from your cosmetic procedure, but also feel fully confident that your safety is being prioritized.
Keep Up to Date with Charlotte Plastic Surgery
Again, we will be keeping an eye on the situation with the breast implant recall, and we’ll provide further updates as needed. Follow along with us here at our blog or connect with Charlotte Plastic Surgery on social media.
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