Woman diagnosed with rare blood cancer after buttock implants

Buttock implants could cause rare blood cancer: Study reveals first EVER account of a possible link just weeks after health officials blamed breast implants for 9 deaths and 457 illnesses

  • A new study reveals a middle-aged woman who got textured gluteal implants was diagnosed with ALCL a year later
  • ALCL (anaplastic large cell lymphoma) is a cancer of the blood
  • The FDA recognized in 2011 that breast implants are linked to ALCL
  • This report by USC is the first to connect ALCL to gluteal implants 

Silicone buttock implants have been linked to a deadly type of cancer for the first time.

A new study reveals a middle-aged woman who received textured implants was diagnosed with blood cancer anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) a year later, with tumors found in her lungs.

‘Unfortunately, her condition deteriorated before explanation could be performed,’ the surgeons at the University of South California wrote.

While regulators have previously acknowledged ALCL’s links to textured breast implants, researchers believe this is the first account of the same link with implants made for the glutes.

The finding will pile more pressure on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the weeks running up to a committee hearing that will assess whether to ban textured breast implants due to health risks. 

Regulators have previously acknowledged ALCL’s links to textured breast implants, but researchers believe this is the first account of the same link with implants made for the glutes

Reflecting on the study, Dr Alan Matarasso, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons said it ‘makes sense’ that textured gluteal implants would carry the same risk as those used in the breast. 

‘It’s not the environment (i.e. the breast) but the type of implant [and] length of time the implant is in place,’ he said, adding that, in the breast, a woman’s risk of ALCL increases after eight years. ‘Inflammation and genetics are considered risk factors to getting the disease (ALCL),’ Dr Matarasso added.

‘Fortunately, the vast majority of buttock enlargements today are done [using] body tissue, known as a ‘flap’, or by reshaping the area around the buttock with liposuction.’ 

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Annual statistics for the plastic surgery industry suggest that is indeed the case. 

The more than 20,000 Americans a year who surgically enhance their buttocks have a few options for how to do it – with some more popular than others. 

In the last couple of decades, the Brazilian butt lift (BBL) has become popular – a procedure of liposuction to remove fat from the back, belly and thighs, which is processed then pumped into the butt. 

These days, now that more surgeons have experience performing the BBL, it’s generally advocated as the safest and most effective option for women. 

It has a lower risk of infections, since there is no incision or foreign product inserted, and since it consists of fat cells, it will grow with the patient if they put on weight, giving a more natural look as their body inevitably changes. 

More than 20,000 Americans a year who surgically enhance their buttocks, and the rates are climbing. Many cite Kylie Jenner’s almost unbelievable bodily transformation as inspiration

But gluteal implants still share a good chunk of the market, particularly favored among lean, skinny patients who do not have much fat to extract. 

With the patient under anesthesia, the surgeon makes an incision in each of the cheeks – either at the top, at the crease below, or the crease between the buttocks. 

They then insert an implant into each side, either above or inside the gluteal muscle. 

Both BBLs and gluteal implants cost around $4,500 (implants generally slightly more), and neither are covered on insurance under normal circumstances. 

Lastly, there is a ‘butt lift’ (referred to as a flap), making an incision in the buttocks and removing excess tissue and skin in the area to give a rejuvenated look.  

They all come with risks.

BBLs have a significant risk of blood clots if the fat is injected in the wrong place – though most in the field insist that board-certified experienced surgeons don’t do that. 

Flap operations, like any, carry the risk of infection from the incision. 

But there is little controversy over those risks compared to the risks of implants. 

Independent researchers and patient advocates are calling on the FDA and ASPS to conduct more investigations into how textured silicone implants seem to trigger disease and disorder in the bloodstream. 

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