Is There a Link Between Breast Implants and Cancer

In the past there have been reports possibly linking a very rare form of cancer with textured breast implants, which have become increasingly popular in recent years as they lower the risk of capsular contracture.

What are the chances?

The first thing we need to do is put this cancer and the chances of developing it into perspective. Anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, also known as ALCL, is extremely rare and is more likely to affect children and young adults and is more prevalent in males. It is caused by abnormal T-cells building up in the lymph nodes. In the USA, the incidence rate of ALCL diagnosis is 3 in 100 million per year.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the UK’s leading independent plastic surgery association, of which I’m a member, carry out audits of all their members’ work. In the last ten years, their surgeons have performed almost 80,000 breast augmentation procedures and in that time, there has not been one case of ALCL reported.

The study itself that first highlighted a potential link actually is only based on 150 cases out of a potential 15 million women worldwide who have breast implants. Furthermore, recent clinical studies have not been able to prove with certainty whether breast implants will increase the risk for developing ALCL.

What are the risks associated with breast augmentation surgery?

This is not to say that this procedure is risk-free and I always ensure that my Warwickshire breast augmentation patients are well aware of all the potential complications before deciding to go ahead.

Beast augmentation surgery risks include all of the usual problems associated with a surgical procedure performed under a general anaesthetic. Furthermore, there are complications specific to this procedure which generally relate to the insertion of a foreign body – the breast implant.

These include capsular contracture, where there is an encapsulation around the implant which can harden and compress the implant overtime. Rates of capsular contracture vary but it is thought that up to 10 per cent of women over a ten-year period will experience capsular contracture, although the use of polyurethane-coated implants appears to lower this significantly.

For patients in the Warwickshire area who have undergone a breast augmentation procedure and may be worried by reports in the media, I am always happy to have a consultation where we can discuss this further. I would also advise any breast augmentation patient who notices a change in their breasts or any lumps or swellings to seek immediate medical advice.

Intimate Nip 'n' Tuck

Cosmetic surgery has become mainstream in recent years, with countless column inches and prime-time TV devoted to the good – and often the bad – of aesthetic enhancement. However, there is one procedure that women won’t usually talk about and that’s labiaplasty.

By definition, labiaplasty is a plastic surgery procedure to reshape large or uneven labia minora – the inner lips of the vagina – to a smaller, more appealing size and shape. Enlarged labia can not only cause massive distress to women but can also be very uncomfortable or even painful. Women often come to my Leamington cosmetic surgery practice seeking advice and possible treatment because they have always been unhappy with the size of their labia, but pregnancy, childbirth, illness or other hormonal problems may all affect its appearance.

Although it is sometimes possible to have this procedure on the NHS – in fact, it is on the rise with 1,118 labial reductions performed in 2008 compared to 404 in 206 – many women seek treatment privately.

What does a labiaplasty entail?

I perform a labiaplasty, also known as a labial reduction or labial reshaping, under a general anaesthetic usually as a day case, as I find that is the most comfortable for my patients. I take care not to affect the clitoral area and that should never be an issue, despite what some of the horror stories may claim.

Although there is much information on the internet on the ‘designer vagina’ – most of it highly suspect – it’s a relatively straightforward procedure, although it does require good surgical skill and judgement regarding how much tissue to remove to avoid causing vaginal dryness through exposure.

My thoughts on this cosmetic surgery procedure

Although the question of what is ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ brings with it much controversy and difference in opinion, if you feel uncomfortable or distressed, then a good idea would be to discuss your options with a plastic surgeon. I do not believe in pressurising any patients that present at my Leamington cosmetic surgery consultation into treatment, but it can be very helpful to discuss all the pros and cons and learn what can be achieved with surgery.