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Could future litigation arise surrounding another breast implant controversy?

Nathan Tavares QC explores the potential for future litigation stemming from a rare form of cancer caused by breast augmentation surgery.

Nathan Tavares QC of our Clinical Negligence Team has written an article on one of the latest medical issues surrounding breast augmentation surgery and the resulting litigation that may follow from Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.

Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma

Controversy rarely leaves the sphere of breast surgery. The consequences of the PIP scandal, where implants had been fraudulently manufactured with unapproved silicone gel, have been far reaching. The report of the independent inquiry into the actions of rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson was recently published and the litigation surrounding his misdemeanours and the associated institutional failings will go on for many years. One of the latest issues surrounding breast augmentation surgery is the development of a rare cancer known as Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL as the rather clunky acronym has it.

What is BIA-ALCL?

The specific diagnostic criteria of the disease was defined by the World Health Organisation in 2016, but it was identified in medical literature as far back as 1997. Prior to the WHO classification, BIA-ALCL was under-diagnosed, under-reported and not widely known about. Contrary to misconception in the media it is not a form of breast cancer as it is not found in
the breast tissue itself, but is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the immune system). The habitat of BIA-ALCL is usually the scar tissue and fluid (seroma) in fibrous scar tissue in the capsule around the breast implant. It can, however, spread throughout the body. The main symptoms are persistent swelling and the presence of a mass or pain in the
area of the breast implant. In most cases the disease develops years after the implant was inserted, and when treated promptly after symptoms first develop the prognosis is usually good and a full recovery can be made. Like all cancers, it can be fatal especially if not caught early. Treatment normally involves surgery to remove the implant and the surrounding
tissue. Some patients also require chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Read the entire article Download a pdf of the full article ‘Breast Implants and BIA-ALCL: An Overview of a Developing Litigation Surrounding Another Breast Implant Controversy‘ here. Nathan explores the causes of BIA-ALCL, litigation and the potential for a defective product claim.

Find out more

Nathan Tavares QC is a member of our Clinical Negligence Team and specialises in Clinical Negligence and Product Liability. If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered in this article please contact Nathan directly or via his Practice Director, Paul Barton for a confidential discussion.

Legal Blogs 7 May, 2020


Nathan Tavares KC

Nathan Tavares KC

Call: 1992 Silk: 2018

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