FDA Requires Physicians to Report Potential Risks of Breast Implants

The US Food and Drug Administration tightened safety requirements for implants. What are the possible complications and what guidelines are required of plastic surgeons

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Some consequences of a breast implant include fatigue, skin rash, memory loss, and mental confusion (Getty Images)

There are many women who, after receiving a breast implant, have some complications over the years. The consequences include fatigue, skin rash, memory loss, and mental confusion, among other health problems known collectively as “breast implant disease”. Some implants have even been linked to a rare and life-threatening form of cancer. For years, activists have sought an informed consent process so that patients have a clear understanding of the risks and benefits before opting for surgery.

The new order from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restricts the sale and distribution of breast implants to providers and facilities that provide patients with a risk checklist, according to the agency. The checklist ” should be reviewed with the prospective patient by the healthcare provider to help ensure that the patient understands the risks, benefits, and other information about the breast implant device, ” the agency said in a statement. In addition, he expressed that the patient must have the opportunity to sign the patient’s decision checklist, which must be signed by the doctor who implants the device.

Regulators too demanded new warning labels to accompany various types of breast implants. Those labels should accompany the patient’s decision checklist and inform women who receive silicone gel-filled implants that they should undergo periodic examinations for possible rupture leaks. Companies have 30 days to post updated tags on their websites.

“By strengthening safety requirements for manufacturers, the FDA is working to close the information gaps for anyone who may be considering breast implant surgery,” said Binita Ashar, director of the Office of Surgical Devices and Control. Infections at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

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Last Year, Regulators Recommended That Manufacturers Use The More Stringent Dfa Precaution, A Warning Included In A Black Box On The Product Label, To Clearly List Potential Complications Associated With The Devices. That Guide Also Recommended That Clinicians Use A Patient Decision Checklist To Guide Consumers Through Potential Pitfalls (Getty Images)

Last year, regulators recommended that manufacturers use the more stringent DFA precaution, a warning included in a black box on the product label, to clearly list potential complications associated with the devices. This guide also recommended that doctors will use a list of verification of decisions of the patient to guide consumers through the potential dangers.

This Wednesday’s announcement made those recommendations a requirement to sell and distribute breast implants.

The Patient Checklist lists common risks associated with breast implant surgery, such as pain, scarring, asymmetry, and infection. It also warns of rare risks including an immune system cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with breast implants. Most of the documented cases of rare cancer and more than a third of the related deaths were related to textured breast implants produced by Allergan, which have since been recalled.

The list also warns that “a breast implant is not a device for life” and that may eventually require removal or replacement. According to the FDA, One in 5 women who have implants have them removed within eight to ten years. Both silicone gel and saline filled implants can also leak or break. Because leaks are more difficult to detect in silicone gel-filled implants, women who receive such a device should get regular images to check for leaks, according to the checklist.

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The List Also Warns That “A Breast Implant Is Not A Lifetime Device” And That It May Eventually Require Removal Or Replacement (Getty Images)

In 2019, several women expressed that their breast implants left them with serious health problems. They told the FDA that the fact that doctors did not discuss the risks left them vulnerable. They described dropping out of careers and wasting time with family due to those problems.

Lymphoma linked to breast implants is rare. Doctors in the United States make about 400,000 implant surgeries each year, and by early 2020 the FDA had documented 573 cases of cancer worldwide and 33 patients had died from it.

Approximately three-quarters of patients who receive implants make the decision for cosmetic reasons; the rest are received as part of reconstruction after breast cancer surgery.

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Lymphoma Linked To Breast Implants Is Rare. Doctors In The United States Perform About 400,000 Implant Surgeries Each Year, And By Early 2020, The Fda Had Documented 573 Cases Of Cancer Worldwide And 33 Patients Had Died From It (Getty Images)

In 2010 a scandal related to breast prostheses occupied part of the agenda. The French company PIP, it became known, used a silicone gel not approved for medical use, instead of the authorized Nusil gel that is claimed to use.

It is estimated that half a million fraudulent PIP prostheses were manufactured and sold in the world between 2001 and 2010, using ineffective controls by the certification company TÜV Rheinland.


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