BIA-ALCL is Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma

Posted April 09, 2017 in Home, Patient Safety

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

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

Since the last BIA-ALCL update, all the plastic surgery societies and breast implant manufacturers have responded with information sheets. I am encouraged by the free flow of information within the Plastic Surgery profession and the industry that supports us.

ASAPS by the Numbers

The ASAPS has distributed a quick summary of the numbers related to BIA-ALCL. Here are a few.

How Many BIA-ALCL Cases Have Been reported?

Of the estimated 7 million women with breast implant throughout the world, 359 reports have been filed. Since the reports can be filed by patients, physicians or manufacturers, it’s important to note the MDRs (Medical Device Reports) are not individual cases, and multiple reports may be filed for a single case of BIA-ALCL. In contrast, there are currently 139 case reports of BIA-ALCL in the literature. It is also important to realize that this is a very small number in relation to the millions of breast implant patients. Lastly, the number is expected to rise because we are learning how better to identify and diagnose patients with the disease.

Smooth vs. Textured

Of the reported cases, over 90% occurred in patients who had textured implants at the time of their diagnosis. In the US database, there is a single case of a patient with smooth breast implants developing BI-ALCL; however, they had a textured tissue expander prior to the smooth breast implant placement. Unfortunately, the other 27 cases of BIA-ALCL reported in the world databases do not include past breast implant information, so while we can say that BI-ALCL is predominantly a problem with textured breast implants, it is unknown if a case has developed in a person who had exclusively smooth breast implants. Currently, 12.7% of US patients receive textured implants. This includes both textured round and all anatomically “shaped” breast implants, and includes both saline filled and silicone filled breast implants.

How Many BIA-ALCL Deaths Have Been Reported?

Of the 359 cases reported, 9 patients have died. Two patients died from stem cell transplants, one died from development of a second unrelated lymphoma, and 6 patients died from direct extension of the tumor. Early detection is key. Of the deaths, none of them received complete surgical excision at any point in their clinical history, none received targeted therapy, and most were significantly delayed in diagnosis or receiving any treatment (1-2 years from onset of symptoms). On the other hand, 93% of all patients are disease free at 3 years follow up. BIA-ALCL has an excellent prognosis when diagnosed early.

How Do We Diagnose BIA-ALCL?

Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment, so how do we accomplish this? Unilateral (one-sided) swelling or mass should lead to a thorough evaluation. This is common in the months following your breast augmentation. The possibility of BIA-ALCL should be considered in a patient with late onset, peri-implant seroma (fluid collection). The majority of patients present on average 8 years after implantation, but range extends from 2 to 28 years.

Ultrasound imaging followed by fine needle aspiration of seroma fluid should be obtained. Collected fresh seroma fluid should be sent to a qualified lab for immunohistochemistry testing for cluster of differentiation (CD30) testing.  Anaplastic Lymphocyte Kinase (ALK) testing of the seroma fluid can help differentiate BIA-ALCL from systemic forms of lymphoma that may appear in the breast.  

Current BIA-ALCL Treatment

Most patients with BIA-ALCL are cured by removal of the implant and capsule surrounding the implant, however a small number act more aggressively and may require additional treatments. For 2017, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network defines optimal treatment which is total capsulectomy and implant removal for the majority of patients with disease confined to the capsule (35% of patients) or a resectable mass (40% of patients). Advanced disease with lymph node metastasis (14% of patients) or organ metastasis (1% of patients) may require further treatment with chemotherapy using either CHOP anthracycline based-protocol or targeted therapy with brentuximab vedotin. Radiation therapy is only reserved for locally unresectable disease.

BIA-ALCL Perspective

BI-ALCL is not breast cancer. Here are some additional numbers, and some links, to keep the worry about BIA-ALCL in perspective:

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Video – Breast Augmentation on KRON 4 – SF Bay Area’s News Station

Posted March 11, 2017 in Breast Augmentation, Home, Videos

According to the latest American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Statistics, Breast Augmentation remains the most popular Cosmetic Plastic Surgery procedure in the United States.

Breast Augmentation provides fullness and support. Not only can a Breast Implant enlarge a small breast, but it can restore shape and volume to a breast that has changed due to pregnancy, weight loss or aging.

Breast Augmentation provides fullness and support. Not only can a Breast Implant enlarge a small breast, but it can restore shape and volume to a breast that has changed due to pregnancy, weight loss or aging.

Breast Augmentation on Body Beautiful

Breast Augmentation was also the first topic discussed on this week’s Body Beautiful. Body Beautiful is a live show, dedicated to the latest in Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery procedures, that airs on the San Francisco Bay Area’s News Station, KRON 4.

The Breast Augmentation Video below covers the basics of Breast Implants and Breast Augmentation and illustrates the procedure with multiple Breast Augmentation Before and After Pictures.

Breast Augmentation Video (Breast Implants)

Breast Augmentation Consultations

Breast implants come in a large variety of sizes and shapes. The best size for you is subjective; however, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon can supply you with professional guidance in selecting the Breast Implant that will best provide the result you are looking for.

Breast implants come in a large variety of sizes and shapes. The best size for you is subjective; however, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon can supply you with professional guidance in selecting the Breast Implant that will best provide the result you are looking for.

If you are considering Breast Augmentation or have Breast Implants and are looking for Breast Augmentation Revision, give me a call at (925) 943-6353 for a personalized consultation and specific recommendations tailored to your needs.

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SF Plastic Surgery Discussed Live Today on KRON 4

Posted March 08, 2017 in Arm Lift (Brachioplasty), Breast Augmentation, Breast Reduction, Breast Reduction (Men), Chin Implants/Augmentation, Facial Augmentation, Home

Dr. Mele and Body Beautiful host Janelle Marie in the KRON 4 Bay Area News studio.

Dr. Mele and Body Beautiful host Janelle Marie in the KRON 4 Bay Area News studio.

Board Certified San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Joseph Mele, MD, FACS, will be discussing cosmetic plastic surgery, live at noon today (8 March 2017) on KRON 4. Topics include:

  • Breast Augmentation (breast implants)
  • Gynecomastia Reduction (male breast reduction)
  • Arm Lifts (brachioplasty)
  • Chin Augmentation (chin implants)

But you never know what will come up on live television.

Tune in or DVR us at Noon Today

If you have the chance, tune in today at noon and get the latest plastic surgery news, live, on your television. If you are reading this too late to tune in, don’t worry. Segments of the show will be posted to the San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog and to my web shortly after airing.

You can check out past episodes here by selecting “Videos” in the “Search By Category” drop-down menu in the margin, or on DrMele.com.

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2017 BI-ALCL Update (Breast Implant Associated – Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma)

Posted February 26, 2017 in Breast Augmentation, Home, Patient Safety

The 2016 diagnostic algorithm for BI-ALCL, shown in the flowsheet above, is still the recommended treatment. If you experience breast implant enlargement, breast inflammation, breast pain, a breast lump, a breast sore or feel like there is fluid around your breast implant, follow up with your plastic surgeon or primary medical doctor ASAP.

The 2016 diagnostic algorithm for BI-ALCL, shown in the flowsheet above, is still the recommended treatment. If you experience breast implant enlargement, breast inflammation, breast pain, a breast lump, a breast sore or feel like there is fluid around your breast implant, follow up with your plastic surgeon or primary medical doctor ASAP. (Click image for larger view.)


It’s been about six months since the last San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog ALCL update. Recently, more information on the subject has become available, and it is about to be published. Two articles stand out. The first is from the United States, and the second is a global review of what is known to date. Both were recently e-published, ahead of print, in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ (ASPS) journal, “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.” Here are the latest facts…

What is BI-ALCL?

ALCL Histology

Breast Implant Associated – Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BI-ALCL) is a T-cell lymphoma that arises around breast implants. It is an extremely rare tumor, which makes it difficult to study; however. earlier data suggests that it is primarily associated with textured breast implants.

The Latest Plastic Surgery News

The first article by Doren et al, entitled: United States Epidemiology of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, reviews all cases of Breast Implant-Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BI-ALCL) in the United States since the first documented case in 1996 up to and including cases reported in 2015. The study is retrospective, so it is not an ideal study for determining the incidence of the disease; however, it’s the best guess we have to date, and the conclusions seem fair. Although rare, all cases of BI-ALCL with adequate history have involved a textured breast implant. The incidence and prevalence of BI-ALCL was determined based on a literature and institutional database review of BI-ALCL cases and textured breast implant sales figures from implant manufacturers’ annualized data.

2017 United States BI-ALCL Data

One hundred pathologically confirmed BI-ALCL cases were identified in the United States. Mean age at diagnosis was 53.2±12.3 years. Mean interval from implant placement to diagnosis was 10.7±4.6 years. Forty-nine patients had breast implants placed for cosmetic reasons, 44 for mastectomy reconstruction, and seven for unknown reasons. Assuming BI-ALCL occurs only in textured breast implants, the incidence rate is 2.03 per 1,000,000 person-years (203 per 100 million), which is 67.6 times higher than that of breast ALCL (3 per 100 million; p<0.001). Lifetime prevalence was 33 per million persons with textured breast implants.

2017 Global BI-ALCL Data

The second article by Srinivasa et al, entitled: Global Adverse Event Reports of Breast Implant-Associated ALCL: An International Review of 40 Government Authority Databases, reviews all federal database submissions relating to BI-ALCL in 37 countries representing the majority of breast implant markets worldwide with available adverse event reporting. Database queries were performed for Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Japan, Mexico, National Competent Authorities of the European Member States, New Zealand, South Korea, and United States. Demographics, device characteristics, pathology, treatment modalities, and outcomes were assessed when available.

The United States MAUDE database included 459 entries in total for the search terms “Anaplastic” and “ALCL” as of September 2015. Excluding for duplicate entries, the MAUDE database had 258 unique cases of BI-ALCL of which 130 had pathologic markers performed. Implant surface was textured significantly more than smooth (50% vs. 4.2%, p=0.0001). Treatment, when reported (n=136), included explantation (n=125, 91.9%), chemotherapy (n=42, 30.8%), radiation (n=25, 18.4%), and/or stem cell transplant (n=9, 6.6%), and 5 deaths were reported. For the 40 countries queried, 340 unique cases were reported for lymphoma associated with breast implants.

They concluded that worldwide federal reporting of BI-ALCL has significant limitations in providing data regarding clinical history, treatment, and oncologic follow up. Country-specific total implant and textured implant sales data is needed in order to determine critical incidence and prevalence analysis. Detailed BI-ALCL patient registries such as American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s PROFILE and centralized tissue banking are necessary in acquiring accurate complete data for sound decision making. The good news for American’s here is that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are leading the way in accurate and appropriate reporting.

What To Do If You Think You Have BI-ALCL

The most common presentation of BI-ALCL is a collection of fluid that occurs around your breast implants years after surgery. BI-ALCL is not the most common cause of these late seromas, but sending a sample may be the fastest way to make the determination. Other presentations include a mass attached to the capsule, tumor erosion through the skin, regional lymph node involvement, or sometimes it is discovered during revision surgery. Risk estimates ranged from one in 500,000 to one in 3 million women with implants.

The typical presentation of ALCL is a large seroma (fluid collection) around the breast implant causing obvious enlargement and asymmetry of the breast augmentation.

The typical presentation of ALCL is a large seroma (fluid collection) around the breast implant causing obvious enlargement and asymmetry of the breast augmentation.

If you suspect there is a problem with your Breast Implants, whether related to BI-ALCL or not, contact an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area. If your original Plastic Surgeon is still in practice near-by, this would be the best place to start. They have your clinical information, and a head start in the investigation. If you have moved, or your plastic surgeon has retired, try to get a copy of your medical records. This will help your new Plastic Surgeon get to the facts much faster.

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Breast Augmentation and Pregnancy

Posted February 12, 2017 in Breast Augmentation, Breast Implant Revision Surgery, Breast Reduction, Home, Mommy Makeover

Breast Augmentation and pregnancy, the combination is the source of many questions in my San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery Clinic. The answers center around a few themes: timing, breast feeding and how breasts change.

Pregnancy brings many changes including changes to the breasts. If you are considering Breast Enlargement, or if you already have Breast Implants, and you are contemplating pregnancy, this post is for you.

Pregnancy brings many changes including changes to the breasts. If you are considering Breast Enlargement, or if you already have Breast Implants, and you are contemplating pregnancy, this post is for you.

Breast Augmentation and Pregnancy: Timing

If you are done having children, the timing is ideal. The dramatic changes that can occur with pregnancy and breast feeding are over, and the focus is on getting back the breasts you had, or the breasts you always wanted to have. Details like size and shape tend to change slowly with age, but may swing widely with pregnancy. Having this behind you is a big plus in the direction of predictability. Additionally, details like inverted nipples, enlarged nipples or enlarged areolae can also be addressed. The Mommy Makeover can also be discussed if your belly has been stretched and has not recovered to your satisfactionx.

If you are planning to have children whether to have Breast Augmentation now depends on how soon you plan to get pregnant. If you are actively trying to get pregnant, you should wait. Your breasts may change with pregnancy. The changes may be small or dramatic, there is no way to predict. Even from child to child, there may be variation. If you get Breast Implants, and then things change dramatically, Revision Breast Augmentation may be needed to restore the breasts’ volume or shape.

If you are planning to have children later, it may make sense to have Breast Augmentation now. If you consider the immediate gratification of the Breast Enlargement, and you feel you will have enough time to enjoy the results, before possibly needing a touch-up, then go for it. The decision is not purely black and white. Breast Augmentation Revision is not always needed after pregnancy, and Breast Implant Revision Surgery may be necessary, even without becoming pregnant.

Before: This young woman had Breast Augmentation before pregnancy. After two children, the skin of her breasts relaxed, dropping the breast tissue off her Breast Implants.  After: Her Breast Implants were exchanged to adjust volume and a Breast Lift was performed to reshape and rejuvenate her breasts.

Before: This young woman had Breast Augmentation before pregnancy. After two children, the skin of her breasts relaxed, dropping the breast tissue off her Breast Implants. After: Her Breast Implants were exchanged to adjust volume and a Breast Lift was performed to reshape and rejuvenate her breasts.

Breast Augmentation and Pregnancy: Breast Feeding

If you have Breast Implants, there is no reason not to breast feed normally. Breast Implants do not taint the milk, and in many cases, the advantage that breast milk gives your infant is significant. Breast Augmentation may decrease the absolute volume of milk produced. The exact mechanism is unknown, but the easiest way to think about it is that the breast may be tricked into thinking it is already full. The volume of the implant may inversely effect the breasts’ milk production. On the other hand, I have had many women who had Breast Augmentation in their twenties, who later went on to breast feed successfully.

If you are currently breast feeding, and wondering when you can have Breast Enhancement Surgery, it is recommended to wait until the milk has dried up for a minimum of three months. This allows the breasts to finish their post pregnancy changes, and decreases the risks of operating on a lactating breast. However, it is never too soon to have a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are many to choose from.

Sometimes Breast Augmentation alone is enough to rejuvenate the postpartum breasts, as demonstrated in the above Breast Augmentation before and after pictures.

Sometimes Breast Augmentation alone is enough to rejuvenate the postpartum breasts, as demonstrated in the above Breast Augmentation before and after pictures.

Breast Augmentation and Pregnancy: Breasts Change

We touched on this a little above, but breasts do change with pregnancy. Some change very little, some quite dramatically, and sometimes one changes more than the other. If your breasts change a little, then Breast Augmentation after pregnancy will be very similar to Breast Augmentation before surgery. On the other hand, if the breasts increase rapidly in size for lactation, and then shrink, often to a volume smaller than their original size, adjustments will be needed in your Breast Enhancement. These adjustments depend on the size and shape of your breasts.

Size is perhaps the easier of the two to understand. If breast lose volume, more stuffing is required to perk them back up to the desired size. In cases when the breasts enlarge, but do not shrink back down to the original size, it may be advantageous to have a Breast Reduction, especially when the sizes are uneven. When the breasts shrink too much, Breast Implants are used to restore volume and improve both the shape of the breasts and the fit of clothing.

The shape of the breasts is determined not just by their volume, but mostly by the breasts’ skin. When the volume of the breast shrinks, but the skin doesn’t, excess sagging occurs. Breast Augmentation alone may not be enough. A combination of Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift is needed in as many as 40% of women after pregnancy. The Breast Lift is used to reshape the breast and remove the skin excess, while Breast Implants can restore volume and increase the bust.

Breast Augmentation Consultations

If you are considering Breast Augmentation, give me a call at (925) 943-6353, and schedule a private, personalized consultation appointment. It is never too early to get the facts, and there is no better way to get a plan tailored to your needs than with an in-person consultation with an experienced, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

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Breast Augmentation Breast Lift Combined (Mastopexy Augmentation) SF Bay Area

Posted December 10, 2016 in Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift (Mastopexy), Home, Videos

Excellent Breast Enhancement is about obtaining the right size and the right shape. If your breast shape is good, more volume is all that is needed, and Breast Augmentation is usually enough to get the results you are looking for.

However, when breasts are the wrong shape, bigger is not always better. For congenital deformities like Poland’s Syndrome or Tubular Breasts, a Breast Implant alone is often not enough. A Breast Lift is added to reshape the breast mound and relocate the misplaced nipple.

Breast Augmentation With Breast Lift Video (Mastopexy Augmentation)

Below is a segment from my latest KRON 4, Body Beautiful show. Several Breast Augmentation With Breast Lift Before and After Pictures are included and narrated, to help illustrate what Breast Augmentation With Breast Lift has to offer. Examples of both the correction of the typical breast deflation with sagging (breast ptosis) typically seen after pregnancy or weight loss, as well as congenital deformities like Poland’s Syndrome or Tubular Breasts are reviewed.

The splash screen of the video above shows Mastopexy Augmentation used for a woman with tubular breasts and very low nipples. Breast Augmentation alone would give her larger breasts; however, the nipple areola complex would still be puffy and the location of the nipple would remain at the bottom of the breast. A more ideal nipple shape and location was obtained by combining the use of Breast Implants for enhanced volume with a Vertical Breast Lift for a better shape. The result is a happy patient.

Breast Augmentation and Breast Lift Consultations

If you are considering Breast Augmentation or a Breast Lift, be certain to choose an experienced and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who understands how to address your specific breast anatomy and your goals. In the San Francisco Bay Area call (925) 943-6353, to schedule a personalized and private consultation appointment.

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Breast Augmentation Recovery – SF Bay Area

Posted November 07, 2016 in Breast Augmentation, Home

Breast Augmentation remains one of the most frequently requested Cosmetic Plastic Surgery procedures.

Breast Augmentation remains one of the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, but what is the recovery like after Breast Implants?

Breast Augmentation remains one of the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, but what is the recovery like after Breast Implants?

Breast Augmentation – The Procedure

Breast Augmentation is simple to understand. Breast Enlargement is performed by placing a Breast Implant behind the breast tissue to increase the breasts’ volume. Of course, there is more to it than that, and it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, before your Breast Enhancement Surgery.

Breast Implants are placed in the operating room, almost always under general anesthesia. This provides maximal safety and predictability of the operation, especially when Silicone Breast Implants are being placed behind the muscle, or when a Breast Lift is also being performed.

Breast Augmentation Recovery Time – The First 24 Hours

After the anesthetic is given, the next thing you will know, you will be in the Recovery Room. It feels instantaneous. Your breasts will be sore and many patients feel pressure, like an elephant is sitting on their chest. Pain is present, but should be manageable. Local anesthesia is frequently placed around the Breast Implants to help with the initial discomfort. Medications will be given intravenously to make you feel better. The primary goals are to allow you to wake-up and to reduce your discomfort.

At home, prescription pain medications are often used for the first few days. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is also safe, because it does not increase the risk of bleeding like aspirin can. Acetaminophen should be taken instead of, not with, your prescription pain medication because most prescription pain medications already have acetaminophen in them, and too much, can cause liver damage.

RICE Therapy for the Breasts

Post-operative discomfort can also be helped with RICE. The acronym RICE stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

REST – Not overusing your chest muscles after surgery can speed your recovery. Your Plastic Surgeon should review what precautions to take after surgery. To read a copy of my Breast Implant Instruction Sheet, click the following: Post-Operative Breast Augmentation Instruction Sheet.

Ice is Nice: Ice provides natural pain relief with few side-effects.

Ice is Nice: Ice provides natural pain relief with few side-effects.

ICE – I cannot stress the importance of icing down after surgery. Like after any injury, ice can effectively decrease swelling and discomfort after surgery, often better than pain medication. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin, to avoid frostbite. A thin cloth should be placed between you and the ice, and the ice should be applied hourly for 15 minutes at a time.

COMPRESSION – The amount of compression will vary by Plastic Surgeon. Some surgeons recommend no support, while others bind the chest. Remember, your Plastic Surgeon will choose the method that works best for the surgery they perform. I prefer the combination of Bra and Band to keep the Breast Implants in their proper position, and to provide some post-operative support and comfort.

ELEVATION – Keeping the head elevated day and night the first few days after Breast Augmentation also helps reduce swelling and discomfort in the breasts. Sleeping on an extra pillow or two is all that is needed. If you are not used to sleeping on your back, a pillow behind the knees can help. It helps you maintain the correct position while you are sleeping and makes your back more comfortable.

Breast Implants have been an option for women with small breasts for over fifty years. During that time, the Breast Implants, the techniques and the recovery time have all improved.

Breast Implants have been an option for women with small breasts for over fifty years. During that time, the Breast Implants, the techniques and the recovery time have all improved.

Getting Back To Normal

After the first few days, your activities will begin to get back to normal. Most patients can drive by three or four days. However, if you are still sore or are taking pain medication, you should wait. By the end of the week, office work is usually doable. After two weeks, light physical activity is encouraged, and by six weeks, you should be able to return to all your usual activities.

It is also important to know that your results will vary. Good results and experiences are a product of teamwork. Choosing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who you are comfortable with is paramount. Doing the Breast Enhancement well is only part of my job, getting you through the recovery is equally as important to a good result.

Breast Augmentation Questions

If you have questions about Breast Augmentation, please call my San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery Office today at (925) 943-6353, and schedule a private consultation appointment. While a lot of good Breast Augmentation information is available here, on the San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog, and the links provided, an in-person consultation allows us to discuss the details specific to your Breast Enhancement.

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Breast Implant Removal – SF Bay Area

Posted October 15, 2016 in Breast Implant Removal, Breast Implant Revision Surgery, Home

If your are feeling that your Breast Implants are too big, like the bowling balls Holly Madison is holding at the Bowling For Boobies Fundraiser in Hollywood, CA, it might make sense to have them reduced or even removed. About 1% of women who get Breast Implants will elect to have them removed at some point in their life.

If your are feeling that your Breast Implants are too big, like the bowling balls Holly Madison is holding at the Bowling For Boobies Fundraiser in Hollywood, CA, it might make sense to have them reduced or even removed. About 1% of women who get Breast Implants have them removed at some point in their life.

Breast Implant Removal is not the most popular Cosmetic Plastic Surgery procedure. In fact, for most of my Breast Augmentation patients, Breast Implant Removal is unthinkable. Longterm plastic surgery statists show that only about 1% of women who get Breast Implants have them removed. Sometimes it is elective; sometimes it is medically necessary.

Why Have Breast Implants Removed?

Breast Implant Removal Before and After: This patient has great breast skin elasticity, so she has no skin sagging after her Breast Implant Removal. Breast Implant Remova surgery is just as personal as Breast Augmentation surgery, and the reasons for it vary. Only 1% of all Breast Augmentation patients have their Breast Implant removed.

Breast Implant Removal Before and After: This patient has great breast skin elasticity, so she has no skin sagging after her Breast Implant Removal. Breast Implant Remova surgery is just as personal as Breast Augmentation surgery, and the reasons for it vary. Only 1% of all Breast Augmentation patients have their Breast Implant removed.

While it is not common, there are many reasons for Breast Implant Removal. Since Breast Implants are used for both an elective and reconstructive procedure, the reasons for Breast Implant Removal can also range from elective to required.

Elective Reasons: Changes in one’s personal physique preference, body image and physical changes associated with weight, pregnancy or aging can all lead to a desire for less breast augmentation. Elective reasons For Breast Implant Removal include:

  • Breast Implants were placed at a young age and things have changed
  • Increased breast size after pregnancy
  • Increase in breast size associated with menopause
  • Planning to get pregnant and don’t want breasts to have a head-start in getting stretched out
  • Breast Implants are just no longer desirable or wanted

Required Reasons: Required reasons for Breast Implant Removal is more common for Breast Reconstruction patients than for elective Breast Augmentation patients. Reasons include:

  • Breast Implant Deflation (In most cases the Breast Implant is replaced rather than left out)
  • Breast Implant Infections
  • Breast Implant Exposure
  • Other severe complications of Breast Implants where the pocket needs to be reconstructed
  • Uncommon forms Breast Cancer treatment which include Hyperthermia

How Are Breast Implants Removed?

Breast Implant Removal Before and After Photos: Larger implants and less native breast tissue increase the desire for a Breast Lift after Breast Implant Removal Surgery. This patient  above had large volume breast implants, small natural breast tissue volume, but good skin tone and nipple placement. She elected not to have a Breast Lift.

Breast Implant Removal Before and After Photos: Larger implants and less native breast tissue increase the desire for a Breast Lift after Breast Implant Removal Surgery. This patient above had large volume breast implants, small natural breast tissue volume, but good skin tone and nipple placement. She elected not to have a Breast Lift.

Uncomplicated Saline Breast Implant Removal can be performed under local, local with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the motivation and tolerance of my patient. Silicone Breast Implant Removal is more often performed under general anesthesia. The reason for the difference is in the filling.

Saline Breast Implant Removal

Saline Breast Implants are filled with water essentially. The implants can be opened, the contents suctioned out and the implants’ silicone shell can be removed without fear of spillage through a small incision. While many saline breast implants were placed via a peri-areolar incision, they are often removed via the infra-mammary fold incision (IMF) to decrease the risk of dimpling at the areolar incision.

Silicone Breast Implant Removal

Silicone Breast Implants are filled with silicone gel. Unlike a Saline Breast Implant, it is sometimes difficult to know before surgery if a silicone breast implant is ruptured. Even MRIs are only 90% accurate. If your silicone breast implant is ruptured, more needs to be done than just remove the implant, so your surgeon will want to have the option, and this is more easier on you, and your surgeon, under general anesthesia. This is especially true of breast implants manufactured before 1994. These can have free silicone gel in the pocket around the implant, even without being ruptured due to “gel bleed.”

After Breast Implant Removal Will I Need A Breast Lift?

Breast Implant Removal Before and After Pictures: The patient above wanted her Breast Implants removed because she felt too big. She also has some bottoming-out of her breast implants. Her breast implants were removed and a special, inferior-pole lift was performed to reduce the amount of skin hanging below her nipple and to move the native breast tissue that she had back up under the nipple.

Breast Implant Removal Before and After Pictures: The patient above wanted her Breast Implants removed because she felt too big. She also has some bottoming-out of her breast implants. Her breast implants were removed and a special, inferior-pole lift was performed to reduce the amount of skin hanging below her nipple and to move the native breast tissue that she had back up under the nipple.

This is question that can only me answered with a Plastic Surgery Consultation. In general, the larger your implants and the smaller your natural breasts, the more likely you are to need a lift. An option that is always available though is to have the Breast Implants removed, allow the breasts to heal and then evaluate if a lift is beneficial. While this means two operations, it also means that you can make the decision to lift or not to lift without having to guess what your breast will look like without breast implants.

Recovery After Breast Implant Removal

Recovery after Breast Implant Removal is usually pretty quick. Most patients are wearing a firm, jog-type bra immediately after surgery to help the breast implant pocket seal and heal. Light compression provides decreased swelling, increased support and decreased discomfort after surgery. In cases where full capsulectomies are performed, or when free silicone needs to be removed, more surgery is required, so the recovery would be expected to increase proportionately with the amount of additional work required.

To schedule a Breast Implant Removal consultation, give my San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery Office a call at (925) 943-6353. We are centrally located in the SF East Bay city of Walnut Creek, CA.

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Body Beautiful On KRON4 Wednesday At Noon – Live

Posted September 04, 2016 in Asian Eyelid Lift (Asian Blepharoplasty), Breast Augmentation, Breast Implant Revision Surgery, Breast Reduction, Breast Reduction (Men), Capsular Contracture, Ear Shaping (Otoplasty), Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty), Home

Attention Plastic Surgery Television viewers. Body Beautiful will be broadcast live on KRON4 this Wednesday, September 7, 2016, At Noon – Live. So tune-in to get the latest Plastic Surgery News, and see if I get it right on the first take.

Plastic Surgery Topics Will Include…

This week’s show will be thirty minutes packed with what’s new in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery. Topics will some of the most popular procedures here in the San Francisco Bay Area including:

  • Breast Augmentation Revision for…
    • Breast Implant Deflation
    • Breast Implant Exposure (Skin Erosion)
    • Capsular Contracture
    • Symmastia
    • Breast Implant Malposition
    • Breast Asymmetry
    • Breast Implants too small
  • Gynecomastia Reduction (Male Breast Reduction)
  • Otoplasty (Ear Pinning for Prominent Ears)
  • Asian Blepharoplasty (Asian Eyelid Surgery)

There will be plenty of discussion and Before and After Pictures for illustration. Below is a sneak peek.

Breast Augmentation Revision

The patient below had a rare, but serious Breast Augmentation Complication, requiring staged Breast Augmentation Revision Surgery. Her breast implant nearly eroded through the skin on the bottom of her left breast. Oversized Breast Implants in small breasts with poor soft-tissue coverage are at greater risk. This is more commonly seen after Breast Reconstruction when the breast has been radiated to treat breast cancer. It is unlikely to occur in a young, otherwise healthy woman, but it did.

Breast Implant Revision: Sometimes breast implant revision is urgent. The square shape sticking out of the bottom of this patient's left breast is her breast implant, and it's about to fall out.

Breast Implant Revision: Sometimes breast implant revision is urgent. The square shape sticking out of the bottom of this patient’s left breast is her breast implant, and it’s about to fall out.

Breast Augmentation Revision Stage I – The Salvage Operation

The top row of photos are the before and after photos from the first stage of her Breast Implant Revision Surgery. The upper left photo shows that the patient’s left Breast Implant is eroding through the skin of the lower breast. It’s about to fall out, and the current breast implant needs to be removed, urgently. If the Breast Implant becomes exposed, infection quickly follows. After careful discussion, it was decided to proceed with Breast Implant Removal on both sides.

Breast Augmentation Revision - Stage I was urgent removal of the left breast implant, which had nearly eroded its way through the lower pole of the breast. It was elected to remove both implants during stage I, because replacing the original saline breast implants with smaller silicone gel filled breast implants was part of the plan to decrease the risk of recurrence.

Breast Augmentation Revision – Stage I was urgent removal of the left breast implant, which had nearly eroded its way through the lower pole of the breast. It was elected to remove both implants during stage I, because replacing the original saline breast implants with smaller silicone gel filled breast implants was part of the plan to decrease the risk of recurrence.

Having one implant in and one implant out was an option, but would have left her with an almost undisguisable amount of asymmetry. Moreover, the plan was to use smaller replacement implants, to decrease the risk of another breast implant erosion. Leaving both implants out forever would also treat this problem, and completely eliminate any chance of it happening again.

Breast Augmentation Revision Stage II – Asymmetric Breast Augmentation

While the nearly Exposed Breast Implant problem was solved, there were two new problems: 1) obvious breast asymmetry and 2) breasts which are too small for my patient’s preferences. The Breast Asymmetry is two fold. The left breast is smaller than the right, and the left breast is higher and tighter on the chest wall.

Breast Augmentation Revision Surgery - Stage II. The second stage entailed lowering the left implant pocket, expanding the lower, contracted pole of the left breast and asymmetrically augmenting the breasts to decrease the size difference.

Breast Augmentation Revision Surgery – Stage II. The second stage entailed lowering the left implant pocket, expanding the lower, contracted pole of the left breast and asymmetrically augmenting the breasts to decrease the size difference.

Breast Implant Revision Surgery was performed to asymmetrically increase the size of the breasts, and to lower the left breast to match the right. The initial results are shown above, just one week after surgery. An alternative approach would be to raise the right side with a Breast Lift; however, this would require additional, external scars on the right breast.

As time marched on, the results improved. No additional surgery was performed after stage two. While initially the skin stretched well, the muscle was tight. Over several months the muscle relaxed and the symmetry improved, as expected.

Breast Augmentation Revision Surgery – Stage II and a patient patient. As time marched on, the results improved. No additional surgery was performed after stage II. While initially the skin stretched well, the muscle was tight. Over several months the muscle relaxed and the symmetry improved, as expected.

The Breast Revision Before and After Photos above show the results after new, smaller Silicone Breast Implants were placed, and the breasts were allowed to heal. The left picture is one week after surgery. In this photo, the left breast mound is firmer, higher and more projecting, as would be expected when more stuffing is placed in a smaller pillow case.

As the breasts heal, the left breast skin and muscle relax, the left breast implant descends and her results improve. The right, after photo shows the results after a few months. A larger breast implant was used on the left, to correct the asymmetry, and while initially it may seem like her Breast Implant Problems are not completely corrected, over time, it settles down. It is a good deal better than the potentially life-threatening complication she presented with originally, as shown below.

Breast Implant Revision Before and After Photos - the left picture is how the patient initially presented. The second picture is a few months after completion of both stages (breast implant removal and breast implant replacement with pocket modifications).

Breast Implant Revision Before and After Photos – the left picture is how the patient initially presented. The second picture is a few months after completion of both stages (breast implant removal and breast implant replacement with pocket modifications).

Breast Augmentation Revision Consultations

Breast Augmentation Revision is considerably more complicated than primary Breast Augmentation. If you have problems with your Breast Implants, seek an experienced and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for your revision surgery. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to schedule a personalized consultation appointment call (925) 943-6353, today.

PS – Don’t forget to watch Body Beautiful live at noon, this Wednesday, September 7, 2016, on KRON4, the Bay Area’s New Station.

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Bogus Breast Implants – PIP President Goes To Jail

Posted August 28, 2016 in Breast Augmentation, Breast Implant Revision Surgery, Home

Two and one half years ago, I posted about Jean-Claude Mas and his substandard PIP Breast Implants. Poly Implant Protheses, PIP for short, had their Breast Implants banned in 2010, after it was revealed that industrial grade silicone was being used, rather than the medical grade silicone that has passed safety tests for use in the human body.

PIP’s Jean-Claude Mas Goes To Jail

PIP founder, Jean Claude Mas, loses appeal in French court, and goes to jail. Photo credit: Guillaume Horcajuelo

PIP founder, Jean Claude Mas, loses appeal in French court, and goes to jail.
Photo credit: Guillaume Horcajuelo

In 2013, Jean-Claude Mas was convicted of fraud. His sentence included: four years in prison, a75,000 euros ($86,000) fine and that he be banned for life from working in medical services or running a company. This year, a French appeals court upheld the decision.

Plastic Surgeons Blew The Whistle First

Plastic Surgeons were aware there was a problem years before the government took action, because PIP Breast Implants leaked about ten times as often as FDA approved breast implants. In fact, the US FDA refused PIP’s application for Silicone Breast Implant sales in the US.

Unfortunately, the Pre-filled Saline version of PIP Breast Implants was sold here for a short time. They also leaked at much higher rates than those seen with the other FDA approved Saline Breast Implant manufacturers at the time: Allergan and Mentor.

PIP – Cheaper Is Not Better

You have likely heard the expressions, “You get what you pay for,” and that, If something is too good to be true, it is false.” Well both these expressions apply to Plastic Surgery. It is not an area that you want to get the cheapest price.

PIP’s appeal was that they were cheap. While they claimed to be equivalent to other manufacturers, they were not. They cost less, because they were made cheaply. Industrial silicone is not the same grade or cost as medical silicone, and the company substituted industrial grade silicone for medical grade silicone for years without regulators catching on.

Jean-Claude Mas posing at his manufacturing facility. Only a few knew what was really going on  with PIP's breast implant quality control.

Jean-Claude Mas posing at his manufacturing facility. Only a few knew what was really going on with PIP’s breast implant quality control.

Plastic Surgeons complained for years that something was wrong with PIP Breast Implants, but the final straw was when the company supplying the large quantities of industrial grade silicone raised their suspicions also. Even the people selling the industrial grade silicone knew there was nothing good about these Cheap Breast Implants.

PIP Knew The End Was Coming

PIP Breast Implants manufacturing was headquartered in La Seyne-sur-Mer, France. Since they were not FDA approved, they were not subject to FDA rules, like surprise inspections. Incredulously, European inspectors had to give 10-days notice prior to an inspection. During this grace period, PIP would remove drums of industrial silicone from their manufacturing facility and quickly order the medical grade silicone they should have been using all along. After the inspection, the industrial silicone was brought out again and cheap manufacturing resumed.

When it was clear that the end was near, PIP slashed its prices further. Knowing that their inventory was going to be confiscated, they sold in bulk, and they sold quickly. PIP flooded the market with cheap “European Approved” breast implants throughout Europe and South America. In the end, between 300,000 and 400,000 women in 65 countries are believed to have received PIP implants. Europe was a major market, but more than half went to South America. Fortunately, they were not sold in the United States.

Medical Tourism – Buyer Beware

Poly Implant Protheses was founded in 1991 and shut down in 2010. It is thought that the manufacture of the Bogus Breast Implants, those made with industrial grade silicone, began in 2001.

It Is Recommended That All PIP Silicone Breast Implants Be Removed

PIP Silicone Breast Implants were never sold in the US; however, if you took advantage of cheap overseas breast augmentation early this millennium, you need to check if you have PIP Silicone Breast Implants.

Breast Implant Removal Before And After Photos: One option is to have the breast implants removed and not replaced. Another is to replace your PIP breast implants with FDA approved breast implants, the later options will also preserve the size of your breast. Be certain to ask your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon about your options for treatment.

Breast Implant Removal Before And After Photos: One option is to have the breast implants removed and not replaced. Another is to replace your PIP breast implants with FDA approved breast implants, the later options will also preserve the size of your breast. Be certain to ask your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon about your options for treatment.

PIP Silicone Breast Implants have a higher risk of leaking than approved models, as well as being implicated in several deaths due to systemic toxicity and several cases of induced breast cancer. If you have these breast implants, the current world-wide recommendation is to have them removed, and if you desire, replaced with approved Medical Grade Silicone Breast Implants.

Breast Implant Revision Surgery Consultations

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) recommendations include seeking immediate care if you have any of the following signs:

  • Lumpiness or swelling in and around the breast
  • A change in the shape of the breast
  • Redness
  • Pain and tenderness
  • A burning sensation
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit

If you have PIP Silicone Breast Implant’s, find an Experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area and get the information about the benefits, and risks, of having them removed. I have removed several. The Ruptured Saline Breast Implants are easy to remove. The saline is absorbed by the body, and all that remains is the solid shell. Ruptured Silicone Breast Implants, especially those filled with the less cohesive gel, are a much bigger problem.

When Breast Implants are ruptured, the gel that fills them can migrate. Most the PIP silicone Breast Implants I have removed were ruptured. The longer the Leaking Breast Implants remain in your body, the less likely it is that all the industrial silicone gel can be removed. Like most problems, the sooner it is addressed the better the outcome. Breast Augmentation Revision is a better option. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, call (925) 943-6353 today.

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