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Research finds Allergan textured breast implants linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Kansas medical malpractice attorneySeveral health organizations have been scrutinizing the link between breast implants and the development of a condition called Breast-Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This condition is a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma — a type of cancer that starts in the lymphatic system and produces excessive lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). BIA-ALCL is not to be confused with breast cancer, as it is associated more with the immune system.

This condition was first brought to the public's attention by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. After studying the potential causes of ALCL, researchers have found a solid link between the condition and breast implants. Symptoms may not appear for years or decades after receiving an implant. Those who suffer BIA-ALCL linked to textured breast implants often experience pain and swelling in the area of the implant.

Researchers believe that BIA-ALCL is caused by:

  • Chronic inflammation to the tissue surrounding the implants due to rough surfaces
  • Increase in white blood cells due to inflammation of scar tissue
  • Bacteria around the implants triggering an immune response

BIA-ALCL linked to Allergan implants

One company placed under scrutiny is Allergan, a global pharmaceutical company based in Dublin, Ireland. Their products, however, account for only five percent of the breast implant market in the United States. In July of 2019, a recall of Allergan's Natrelle BIOCELL textured breast implants was issued by the FDA, according to Insider.

The FDA found that a total of 573 cases of BIA-ALCL have occurred worldwide — 481 of which were caused by Allergan textured implants. Approximately 33 patients who developed BIA-ALCL died, 12 of whom were aware that their textured implants were made by Allergan at the time of their diagnosis. However, in the remaining deaths, the manufacturer remains a mystery.

The FDA recall has led to the company withdrawing the product from the global market. The company stated in a press release:

“Allergan is taking this action as a precaution following notification of recently updated global safety information concerning the uncommon incidence of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

About 3 million out of 100 million women are affected by ALCL. In cases where the condition is caused by textured breast implants, the cancer isn't found in the breast. It's usually identified in the scar tissue that forms around the implant. In other cases, the cancer spreads throughout the body.

The FDA believes that patients who receive textured implants manufactured with silicone and polyurethane outer shells are at the highest risk of developing BIA-ALCL.

After receiving Allergan implants, one patient experienced pain so severe she could barely move her upper body. After discovering that the implants she received are linked to ALCL, she asked two surgeons what can be done. They said the implants can be removed and replaced, but the patient would have to pay out of pocket. She had the procedure done in 2018 and reported an 80 percent reduction of pain and discomfort.

Speak to a medical malpractice lawyer today

If you developed BIA-ALCL or any other condition after undergoing a textured breast implant, it's critical that you speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Based in Wichita, Kansas, the Warner Law Offices are dedicated to helping people hurt by negligent medical procedures.

Let our highly skilled legal team investigate the cause of your injury and devise a legal strategy to help you recover all damages you're entitled to. To learn more, contact us online and schedule your free initial consultation.

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