Why Are Breast Cancer Survivors Getting Their Implants Removed?
The New York Times released an article about a study that was conducted on women who had breast reconstruction surgery. These 2,300 women had their operations between February 1, 2012, and July 31, 2015. The patients were from 11 different medical centers located across the United States and Canada. After their surgery, their story was followed for two or more years to record their progress.
Of these women, more than half of them had artificial implants. Approximately a third of the women opted for a procedure using their own tissue, called autologous reconstruction. The amount of complications that came from reconstruction after mastectomies was high.
Why are there so many complications associated with these reconstructions? Should women obtain legal counsel if they find out that their implants have been recalled?
Why Women Choose Reconstruction After A Mastectomy?
Receiving the news that you have breast cancer can be scary news. This diagnosis comes with various plans of attack for the cancer cells. A lot of times, radiation and chemotherapy can be effective solutions for breast cancer. Other women choose to take the route of a mastectomy in response to their diagnosis.
What Is A Mastectomy?
A mastectomy is when a surgeon removes the entire infected breast. These can also occur on both sides, referred to as a double mastectomy. A surgeon can perform five different types of mastectomies. These include:
- Simple or total mastectomy
- The concentration of this surgery is the breast tissue. There is no removal of the lymph nodes underneath the arm, unless embedded in removed breast tissue. The muscle is also not removed during this surgery.
- The women who are the best candidates for a simple or total mastectomy are those who have multiple or larger areas of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Women also opt for this type of surgery to prevent the possibility of breast cancer occurring, called prophylactic mastectomies.
- Modified radical mastectomy
- The entire breast gets removed along with the lymph nodes from the underarm. The muscles from the breast remain intact.
- The removal of the lymph nodes is for those with more invasive forms of breast cancer. The nodes are tested to see if cancer has spread past the breast.
- Radical mastectomy
- Radical mastectomies are the most invasive form of surgery that can be performed on a breast cancer patient. The breast is removed with all of the lymph nodes. A surgeon will also remove all the underlying chest wall muscles from under the breast.
- This procedure is rarely performed unless the breast cancer patient has cancer spreading to the chest wall muscles.
- Partial mastectomy
- A partial mastectomy is the removal of only the cancerous tissues with very little healthy tissue removed around it. A lumpectomy could be considered a form of partial mastectomy. More tissue is removed in the mastectomy than the lumpectomy.
- Nipple-sparing mastectomy
- In this type of procedure, the tissues are removed, but the nipple is spared. Generally, this is for reconstructive purposes.
Reconstruction Options Available
There are two alternatives for reconstruction after having a mastectomy. Implants are often the first choice of women. Using their tissues, if there is enough, can accommodate an autologous tissue reconstruction. Both of these can be done directly after having surgery, or a patient can wait before pursuing an option. They are not without their risks.
For a patient to be a candidate for implants, they must have enough skin and muscle remaining from the mastectomy to support the implant. The time in surgery is shorter, with very little blood loss. The healing time tends to be shorter for this option.
There are many follow-up visits with medical professionals after the implants are inserted. The expander has to be filled within the chest to accommodate the final product.
Autologous Tissue Reconstruction
Autologous tissue reconstruction is a longer and more invasive process. The initial recovery period takes a lot longer than if implants were the reconstruction procedure. Depending on the flap method used, that will determine the length of the hospital stay.
Textured Implant Recalls
The FDA requested that specific textured implants be recalled due to the increased likelihood that they could cause breast cancer in the women they were implanted in. Women were reporting painful swelling long after their incision sites had healed. The diagnoses of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma began pouring in.
Women chose the use of textured implants over the smooth silicone because they attached better to the remaining breast tissue, causing less sliding around.
Taking Measures for Health
If women who have these recalled implants are not symptomatic, they do have the option to leave them in or have them taken out. If they are taken out, they can have them replaced with another type of implant.
Some women have opted to go ahead and have the implants removed. One article talked about a woman who had already fought breast cancer twice and had a double mastectomy.
She initially chose to go with regular silicone implants, but was having a lot of trouble with the way one of them was fitting. She had a lot of discomfort, and it moved around inside her breast too much. She had it replaced with an Allergan textured implant.
One day, she found out that her Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped Silicone Filled Breast Implant was on the FDA recall list. She went to her doctor as soon as she heard.
Her doctor advised her to think about what she wanted to do with the information she now had. After carefully weighing out her options, she chose to have the implant removed and replaced with another kind.
Reports have indicated that Allergan was aware of the problems associated with their textured breast implants without disclosing the risks. For almost a decade they have been aware, but continued to put them on the market.
TorkLaw is now taking cases for those who have been affected by the negligence of Allergan. If you have been a victim of the FDA recalled textured implants, call TorkLaw for your free, no-obligation consultation today.