Aplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) is a rare form of cancer that arises from the immune cells in the scarring tissue around the implant. This condition has been recently linked to breast implants. The approximate risk is one in 30,000. It can happen with any type of plant smooth, rough surface, silicone or saline filled. Recent evidence suggests it is more common with rough surface implants. It usually presents several years after implants surgery and it can occur in women without implants. It usually presents as fluid effusion around the implant. Other presentations include a lump in the breast, a lump in the the armpit, pain and redness of the breast. The fluid around the implant should be sent for analysis and breast imaging such as ultrasound scan or MRI should be considered when the condition is suspected. It is highly curable condition and the treatment usually consists of removal of the implant and the scarring tissue around it (capsulectomy). Some cases may require surgery to remove the lymph glands, chemotherapy and/or radiation. If you already have implants do not panic since the condition is rare and there is no need to have the implants removed. However if you notice any change in your breast you should report that to your doctor for further assessment. Professor Mokbel has not observed a single case of ALCL among his patients. Doctors should be aware of this rare condition and are encouraged to participate in contributing data to implant registry databases.
What causes ALCL ?
No one precisely knows what causes it. However Professor Mokbel believes that the condition is probably caused by a combination of a genetic predisposition and chronic inflammation around the implant triggered by a low grade bacterial infection.