Advice Regarding Breast Implant Safety – Joint Statement from ABS, BAAPs and BAPRAS

Following worries in the press regarding textured implants, a joint statement has been released by Association of Breast Surgery (ABS), BAAPs and British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (BAPRAS) in regards to breast implant safety.

The two main worries are surrounding Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (AIA-ALCL) and Breast Implant Illness (BII)/Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA). Please see a useful summary of their joint statement regarding these concerns below:

Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL)

Current information from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that BIA-ALCL occurs with “1 in every 24,000 implants inserted in the UK” and that “BIA-ALCL typically presents on average 8-10 years after Breast Augmentation”. It should be mentioned that BIA-ALCL is usually “treatable and curable with surgery, although other treatment may be required”.

This continues to be a rare disease in the UK, however, ABS, BAAPs and BAPRAS continue to monitor both UK and international events closely alongside the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the national Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry (BCIR) to maintain patient safety as paramount. These boards will be updating their guidance as new evidence comes to light.

The signs of BIA-ALCL for patients to look out for are “visible, painless swelling of the breast over a period of a few weeks due to fluid OR less frequently, a lump in the scar tissue which can develop around any breast implant”.

Current advice from MHRA is that your “implants do not need to be removed as the risks associated with surgery to remove the implants and capsules outweigh the risks of potential disease. However, should patients develop any breast symptoms such as swelling, lumps or pain they should seek immediate advice from their family doctor and or operating surgeon”. See our previous post on current advice here and advice from MHRA regarding BIA-ALCL here.  

Breast Implant Illness (BII) or Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjvants (ASIA)

Another concern for patients is whether implants can make some people ill. This has been highly covered by the UK press as of late.

ABS, BAAPs and BAPRAS have said that “Breast Implant Illness (BII) or Autoimmume Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants (ASIA), is a collection of multiple symptoms, most of which are common in the general population who do not have breast implants”. The MHRA is collecting data from surgeons and the public to help them understand the numbers of patient and types of conditions involved as previous studies have found “no evidence fo a link between silicone breast implants and the symptoms reported”.

The MHRA have provided advice for patients who are worried about symptoms below:


Advice for individuals with breast implants:

If you have breast implants and experience any problems with your breasts, in particular swelling, lumps or change in shape, then you should seek medical advice. If you think your breast implants are causing general health problems you should seek the advice of your original surgeon or the hospital/clinic where the implant operation took place. If you cannot contact either of those, please consult your GP. The MHRA understand that you may not have much information on your implants but the more information you can provide the better. Ideally this includes:
  • Details of the breast implant/tissue expanders you have at present (manufacturer, model, serial and lot number).
  • Date they were put in and the dates of any other surgeries for any other removals/re- implantations, which you have had.
  • How long each implant has been in you.
  • Details of your symptoms or rupture of implants (device failure).
  • Details of any medically diagnosed ‘autoimmune’ conditions and the date of onset. The reasons for your original surgery (i.e. reconstructive or cosmetic).
To read the full joint statement from Association of Breast Surgery (ABS), BAAPs and British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (BAPRAS), please click here.

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