Number of cases of breast implant-linked lymphoma in the UK

  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
  • 2 Jul 2020

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
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As of April 2020, there have been 68 cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) reported in the UK. This figure includes cases where the original implantation did not occur in the UK.

Based on the number of cases, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) estimates that the risk of BIA-ALCL in the UK is one per 20,000 implants sold. This estimate is based on data for all types of breast implants, including breast tissue expanders.

Among cases of BIA-ALCL reported to the MHRA, there have been three deaths. One of these met the WHO diagnostic criteria for BIA-ALCL. The other two deaths did not meet the diagnostic criteria.

The MHRA said it is important to note that not all reported cases are caused by an implant. Some of these cases might have occurred even in the absence of a device due to an unrelated condition. "The number of reports received, therefore, cannot be taken as an accurate reflection of issues directly attributable to implants, but we still need this information to build up a better picture of what is happening," the agency said.

The advice from the MHRA is that people with breast implants do not need to have them removed in the absence of any symptoms of ALCL. This advice is consistent with all international regulators.