Symptoms of BIA-ALCL

Allergan has recalled many of its breast implants and tissue expanders after an analysis of 573 cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) showed 481 cases involving Allergan products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended the recall of textured BIOCELL® breast implants in the hopes of spreading awareness of BIA-ALCL and preventing cases involving Allergan in the future.

Recognizing the symptoms of BIA-ALCL could help you catch this type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in time to undergo potentially life-saving treatments. Although the survival rate for BIA-ALCL is high, prompt diagnosis is key for this serious type of cancer. If you do have BIA-ALCL, contact one of our Allergan recall attorneys for a consultation. A product liability lawsuit could result in payment for your surgeries, reconstructive procedures, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Pain or Swelling

One of the most common outcomes of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a buildup of fluid around the breast implant. Excessive fluid buildup can cause pressure, swelling and pain in the affected breast or area. BIA-ALCL can occur due to the surface of the implant causing inflammation in the breast tissues. This is why BIA-ALCL is more common with textured surface breast implants than smooth implants. Inflammation could cause symptoms such as pain and swelling in the breast. Pain related to BIA-ALCL is typically persistent and can happen years after the surgical incision has healed.

Lumps in the Breast or Armpit

BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer, but it may have similar symptoms. Symptoms can include noticing new or unusual lumps in your breast tissue or armpit when conducting a self-check or during a breast exam. BIA-ALCL is a lymphoma or cancer of the lymph nodes. It can affect the immune system like other forms of lymphoma. It starts with irritation of the tissues around the implant, leading to fluid buildup that can damage the cells and cause cancer. If you notice lumps in your breast or armpit, it could be a sign of BIA-ALCL. See a doctor right away.

How Do Doctors Diagnose BIA-ALCL?

Most patients with BIA-ALCL notice symptoms anywhere from 3 to 14 years after breast augmentation or reconstruction. Once a patient visits a doctor with complaints of lumps, pain or swelling, a physician will check the fluids around the breast implant for new or excessive collection. Most doctors will extract a sample of the fluid and send it to a lab for analysis. If the sample comes back with a marker for lymphoma (CD30), the patient may begin treatment for BIA-ALCL.

Treatment for BIA-ALCL typically involves the removal of the breast implant and the surrounding scar tissues, capsules and fluids. Some patients may require chemotherapy if the disease has spread to the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. Patients who have undergone the surgical removal of the implant and scar tissue have had a three-year 93% survival rate and an 89% survival rate at five years.

If you have Allergan textured breast implants (or other types of breast implants) but have not yet noticed any signs or symptoms of BIA-ALCL, the FDA is not currently recommending the removal of breast implants. Instead, the FDA has told the public to remain aware of the signs of developing BIA-ALCL and to talk to health care providers about any questions about this condition or other breast implant complications.

Contact Us If a Doctor Diagnoses You With BIA-ALCL

If a physician in Southern California does diagnose you with BIA-ALCL, contact an attorney for a free and confidential case review. You could have grounds for a product liability lawsuit against Allergan or another breast implant product manufacturer. A lawsuit could help you receive financial compensation for the procedures, surgeries and treatments you may have to undergo to get rid of the lymphoma and reconstruct your breasts, if necessary. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation about your potential case.

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