Breast implant recall questions answered

A breast implant recall due to a link to cancer has left some women concerned and calling their plastic surgeons.

"We did get a spade of phone calls," said Dr. Franklin Rose, a Houston plastic surgeon at Utopia Plastic Surgery & Med Spa. 

The recall of Allergan textured breast implants comes after the FDA studied patients with a rare kind of immune system cancer and found the majority of those patients had Allergan textured implants.

"It's the Allergan Natrelle BIOCELL textured implant that has been identified as the culprit in this type of lymphoma," said Dr. Rose, adding he only uses smooth surface implants at his practice.

The FDA requested the recall after conducting an analysis of 573 patients with breast implant associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) and found that nearly 85 percent of those patients had Allergan breast implants at the time of diagnosis.

"In this particular kind of cancer, one of the first things that manifests is swelling and fluid formation around the implant, and that's where the cancer has been identified," said Dr. Rose.

Allergan is recalling unused implants from plastic surgeons but is not telling women who already have them to get them removed. 

Dr. Rose says Allergan should refund women who want to replace their implants with smooth surface implants. 

"I don't think it's correct for a company to...say you can't put these in anymore--they're unsafe--but it's okay, girls, if you have the implant in--just don't worry about it," said Dr. Rose. "Many of these patients are going to want to have implant exchanges, I would think, and I think financial issues are going to be paramount."

In the meantime, Dr. Rose says his charity Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation will try to help those patients with financial needs. 

"Right now in Houston there might be 30 or 40 or 50 thousand women with Allergan textured implants that have been recalled," said Dr. Rose.

He says if you don't remember the kind of implants you have, check the manufacturer's card that came with the implants or just call your plastic surgeon.