Choosing implants for breast augmentation or reconstruction after mastectomy should not unreasonably put your life at risk. Yet with links to cancer, some Allergan breast implants and tissue expanders may put patients at serious risk of developing a deadly type of lymphoma. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced a recall on Allergan textured breast implants as a precaution against breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
Patients with breast implants should confirm whether they have one of the implants or tissue expanders listed on Allergan’s recall announcement. Many women, however, do not know what types of breast implants they have. It may have been years since they received the implants. If you do find out you have a recalled implant, learn your legal options by contacting our attorneys today. We can help you investigate your implants and fight for justice.
After receiving your permanent breast implants, your doctor will give you a small card (shaped like a credit card). This is your device identification and warranty card. Your implant card should contain stickers from each implant with the device’s information on them. It should also have important information such as the date of your surgery, your physician’s name, the breast implant size and the final fill volume of your implants (if you chose saline).
Your medical device card will have all the information you need as to what type of breast implants you have. It will have the name of the implant manufacturer, as well as the device serial number and model number. Put this card in a safe place, such as your wallet or a file full of important documents at home. You should also take a photograph of the device card to store on your phone, computer and in the cloud for backup. You will receive the same type of card after the implantation of any medical device, such as a hip or knee replacement.
If it has been years since you received your breast implants and you no longer have your device card, contact your doctor to ask about your medical records. Call the surgical center where you received your breast implants if you do not remember the name of your plastic surgeon. Give your name, birth date and other identifying information so the nurse can look you up. The hospital should be able to tell you the manufacturer and model number of your breast implants, as well as send you a copy of your medical records.
If you find out you have one of the implant types listed on Allergan’s voluntary recall, contact our attorneys for advice on what to do next. We generally recommend clients speak to their physicians about the decision to remove or replace Allergan implants or tissue expanders. Currently, the FDA does not recommend patients without symptoms of cancer to get their implants or expanders removed. BIA-ALCL can be deadly, but it is a very rare form of lymphoma with only 573 known cases worldwide.
If you have Allergan implants and experience symptoms of BIA-ALCL, see a doctor right away. Symptoms may include swelling or an excessive buildup of fluid in your breasts, and/or chronic pain. You may also notice lumps in your breast or armpit. Your doctor can extract fluid from the affected breast and send it to a lab to screen for anaplastic large cell lymphoma. A cancer diagnosis could lead to treatment such as the removal of your breast implants.
A product liability claim against Allergan may ultimately result in payment for your economic and noneconomic damages as a patient with recalled breast implants or tissue expanders – even if a doctor has not diagnosed you with cancer. Even without a BIA-ALCL diagnosis, an attorney could help you find out if Allergan may pay for your corrective procedures in light of the global recall. Contact us today for assistance with breast implant identification and other tasks.