What is Breast Implant Large Cell Lymphoma?

Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma is a rare form of cancer that primarily affects women who have received surgery with textured breast implants or tissue expanders. BIA-ALCL is typically located near the implant, in the seroma (fluid) within the implant’s scar tissue capsule. This large cell lymphoma is not breast cancer or a cancer of the breast tissue – lymphoma is a type of cancer that impacts the cells of the immune system (lymphocytes). Breast Implant Associated ALCL is a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that can usually be treated successfully when detected early. However, Breast implant large cell lymphoma can spread to surrounding areas outside of the capsule when left undetected or untreated.

What causes BIA-ALCL?

At this point in time, it appears that Breast Implant Large Cell Lymphoma occurs exclusively in women who have (or have previously had) textured breast implants including the Allergan Natrelle BIOCELL textured products below:

  • Allergan Natrelle 133 Plus Tissue Expander
  • Allergan Natrelle 133 Tissue Expander with Suture Tabs
  • Allergan Natrelle Saline-Filled Textured Breast Implants
  • Allergan Natrelle® 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped Silicone- Filled Textured Breast Implants
  • Allergan Natrelle Silicone-Filled Textured Breast Implants

In September of 2019, the FDA issued a Class I Recall of the products above, indicating that the use of these devices “may cause serious injuries or death” Mentor Worldwide LLC and Sientra, Inc are two additional companies that manufacture textured breast implants and tissue expanders. However, according to data from the FDA, Allergan BIOCELL products were associated with 84% of all reported cases of BIA-ALCL.

What are the symptoms of Breast Implant Associated Large Cell Lymphoma?

Most women who have BIA-ALCL first notice that something is wrong when they experience severe swelling and tenderness in one or both of their breasts. This enlargement is caused by the buildup of fluid/seroma cells within the breast implant capsule. Other symptoms include swollen/enlarged lymph nodes, skin irritation or B Symptoms – such as weight loss, night sweats, fever, chills, etc. If you have developed any of these symptoms following surgery with textured breast implants, it is important to schedule an appointment with your treating physician in order to address the health of your breasts and the possibility of BIA-ALCL. If fluid or abnormal growth is found, it will need to be tested by a pathologist for the presence of CD30 in order to diagnose or rule out Breast Implant Large Cell Lymphoma.

How is BIA-Large Cell Lymphoma Treated?

The type of treatment required for Breast Implant Large Cell Lymphoma largely depends on the development of the cancer in the body.

Stage I: BIA-ALCL is confined to the capsule (83-84% of cases)

Stage II: BIA-ALCL has spread to armpit area (10-16% of cases)

Stage IV: BIA-ALCL has spread to other parts of the body (Under 7% of cases)

The first step in treatment of Breast Implant Large Cell Lymphoma is the complete surgical removal of both the implant and the scar tissue capsule – sometimes this also includes a biopsy of the lymph nodes. An additional treatment for BIA-ALCL is an antibody injection that binds to the CD30+ cancerous cells and kills them. For cases where the cancer has spread beyond the seroma within the capsule, chemotherapy may be necessary for additional treatment. After the capsulectomy – surgery to remove both implant and capsule—the prognosis is very positive. However, in some cases the disease is fatal.

Breast Implant Lymphoma Lawyer

If you or a loved one have Allergan Textured Breast Implants or Tissue expanders, contact The Willis Law Firm today for your free case evaluation. Let us use our years of experience to support you in fully evaluating your legal options. We work all cases on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that there is no fee or expenses charged for our services if there is no recovery to you.

Since 1992, The Willis Law Firm has fought for the rights of those injured by dangerous medical devices. David P. Willis is a Board-Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1988. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Willis has been personally compelled to force manufacturers to be accountable for their negligent acts and for the sale of dangerous products that kill and maim the consumers in the United States.