Are Breast Implants Safe? The FDA Reviews Health Concerns – The Atlantic
Given how casually breast augmentation is often talked about and advertised, it can seem like skipping the lifetime of follow-up is no big deal. But patients can suffer from the less-than-serious cultural attitude toward cosmetic modifications—and unscrupulous doctors can benefit. “Not everybody putting breast implants in across the country is a board-certified plastic surgeon,” Spector says. “You have variation in state laws, and if you’re doing things in your own office, all you need is a medical license.” Untrained surgeons performing cosmetic procedures in high-volume, low-cost settings can have deadly results. In February, USA Today published an investigation into a group of Miami clinics where eight women had died from surgical complications. (The owner of the clinics has denied any wrongdoing.)
Although the surgeons I spoke with said that many patients’ breast-augmentation complications are likely the result of errors in their treatment, they were also clear that even a flawlessly performed augmentation carries risks. In some people, an implant can become encapsulated in scar tissue, causing pain and deformity. Recent evidence suggests that the rare cancer anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or ALCL, is more common in patients who have had textured-surface breast implants. In a controversial 2018 study, researchers also found a link between several cancers and autoimmune diseases and silicone implants, but the study did not go so far as to demonstrate that the implants were the cause of those health concerns.