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BIA-ALCL Resources
Summary and Quick Facts

The following provides a summary of what is currently known about BIA-ALCL.

  • Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is an uncommon and treatable type of T-cell lymphoma that can develop around breast implants. BIA-ALCL is not a cancer of the breast tissue itself.
  • BIA‐ALCL should continue to be discussed with any patient considering breast implants as part of the informed-consent process.1
  • The lag time between current implant insertion to diagnosis of BIA-ALCL has been from 0.8-27 years, with a mean of 9.75 years.
  • No cases of BIA-ALCL have been reported with patients who have only had smooth implants in case series, case reports or registries. However, it is not possible to exclude the appearance of BIA-ALCL in association with smooth implants at this time. The FDA confirms that all confirmed cases worldwide either have a history of a textured device or an incomplete clinical history available for review.
  • The association of BIA‐ALCL and textured implants may be related to the increased surface area of the texturing; however, this has not yet been definitively proven. The variation in surface texturing among manufacturers may mean there are variable risks for the development of BIA-ALCL.
  • The disease has been associated with both silicone and saline implants in aesthetic as well as reconstructive patients.
  • The majority of patients present as a delayed seroma, but also present with symptoms of mass, skin rash, fever and night sweats and lymphadenopathy. Diagnosis is based on ultrasound‐guided, fine-needle aspiration of the peri-implant fluid, which is assessed with immunohistochemistry for CD 30-positive large anaplastic T-cell lymphocytes.
  • PET‐CT is performed following a positive diagnosis. Mammograms are not helpful for evaluating lymphoma, but are important for the evaluation of breast cancer.
  • Consideration should be given to a multidisciplinary approach including, when required, an oncological breast surgeon and an oncologist specializing in lymphoma.
  • Incomplete capsular resection has been associated with both recurrence and significantly lower survival.
  • The majority of patients can be cured of their disease by bilateral total capsulectomy and implant removal. Rare patients will present with a mass and have an increased risk of requiring radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Treatment approach should follow international guidelines established by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) for BIA-ALCL, available at nccn.org.
  • Current treatment recommendation is for bilateral complete capsulectomy and implant removal, as a small number of women have had contralateral disease found incidentally.2
  • The FDA recommends that any suspected or confirmed cases of BIA‐ALCL be reported to the PROFILE registry, the MAUDE database and the device manufacturer. To report a case to PROFILE, go to ThePSF.org/PROFILE. To submit a case to the FDA's Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database, which collects medical device reports (MDRs) of suspected device-associated deaths, serious injuries and malfunctions, visit www.accessdata.fda.gov.
  • For more information: visit PlasticSurgery.org/ALCL or search "ALCL" on RADAR.

1. Clemens MW, Jacobsen ED, Horwitz ST. 2019 NCCN Consensus Guidelines on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 39(1), 2019, Pages S3-S13.

2. Clemens MW, Brody GS, Mahabir RC, Miranda RN. How to Diagnose and Treat Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2018 Apr;141(4):586e-599e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004262.

*Page last updated on August 5, 2019