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Expert group formed on breast implant-associated lymphoma

The HSE has formed an expert advisory group on breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) to progress actions including an implant registry. Its first meeting was held in April.

BIA-ALCL is considered a rare and generally slow-developing type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in individuals with breast implants, particularly those with a textured surface. Common symptoms include swelling in the area of the implant; substantial change in the size of the affected breast, which develops rapidly; and discomfort.

The condition is usually curable when identified and treated promptly.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority said it had received “less than five” reports to date. As of mid-February 2020, 348 patients had requested follow-up appointments through their cancer centre arising from concerns about BIA-ALCL. “All cancer centres accommodated patients through current resources,” stated the HSE.

Internationally and nationally, implant removal in non-symptomatic patients for the purpose of BIA-ALCL prophylaxis is not recommended.

In 2019, a HSE serious incident management team (SIMT) was established following the global withdrawal of Allergan’s Biocell macro and micro-textured implants. Allergan Biocell implants had been withdrawn from the European market in December 2018 on foot of safety actions by French authorities.

According to the HSE SIMT’s final report, most cases internationally have been associated with Allergan Biocell implants and tissue expanders. As of February 2020, the HSE had identified 2,711 people with Allergan Biocell implants from its hospital inpatient data system.

The SIMT initiated a number of actions including communications with patients and clinicians. Private hospitals were advised to contact their patients.

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