What symptoms should I be looking for?
It is important to understand the signs and symptoms associated with BIA-ALCL so that you can be proactive in your own care. The most common sign of BIA-ALCL is fluid around the implant (seroma), which typically occurs many years after the implant was originally placed. From this, the breast usually appears and feels swollen, painful, and may also become misshapen. Similarly, tightening due to scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture) is another common sign of BIA-ALCL. Less common signs of BIA-ALCL include tumors in the breast skin, as well as enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit. These signs do not mean that a patient has BIA-ALCL. However, if you do have any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult with Dr. Tanna.
How is BIA-ALCL diagnosed and treated?
If it is determined that BIA-ALCL is a concern, Dr. Tanna will order an MRI, PET scan, and/or ultrasound, as well as take tissue and fluid simples in order to comprehensively evaluate your breasts. In the unlikely case you are diagnosed with BIA-ALCL, treatment typically involves surgery to remove the implant and the capsule around the implant (en bloc capsulectomy). Although removal of textured implants is typically the only treatment necessary, there have been cases where patients have required chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. This is most common in late diagnosis of BIA-ALCL.