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Breast implant-associated lymphoma reported

A rare lymphoma associated with breast implants has been identified in Ireland, but no figures are being released due to the low number of case(s) confirmed to date.

In August 2019, the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) stated it had not received any reports of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). However, the Medical Independent understands this is no longer the case.

The HPRA said it does not release information relating to one or a low number of adverse reports for any medical device, as it may lead to personally identifiable information entering the public domain. 

The HSE website says BIA-ALCL is “rare with a low risk to people with breast implants”.

Internationally, most cases have been in patients with implants or tissue expanders manufactured by Allergan, with a surface texture called BIOCELL. These devices were commonly used in Ireland prior to a European recall in December 2018.

BIA-ALCL is treated by removing the implant and in most cases, no further treatment is required, according to the HSE website. It has a “very good recovery rate” when treated early.

In October, the HSE said public and private hospitals would write directly to people who had breast implants or tissue expanders to advise of the signs of BIA-ALCL. Early symptoms include a new and distinct swelling of the breast.

Individuals who had implants “in other private clinics in Ireland or overseas” should contact their operating surgeon or hospital if they have any concerns.

Removal of the implants is not recommended “except as part of the treatment for the condition”, according to the HSE website.

The HPRA said it will continue to work with the European Commission and “as a matter of priority will ensure the introduction of evidence-based actions as appropriate”.

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