Every year in the United States, thousands of patients undergo breast augmentation surgeries. Some of these surgeries involve patients having breast implants placed to enhance or replace breast tissue. Like all other manufacturers of goods, breast implant manufacturers are held to the same safety standards under the law. This means that, just like other product manufacturers, the makers of breast implants have a duty to provide safe products to their consumers.
“If the manufacturer fails to provide a safe product or provides one that causes injury to the consumer, they may ultimately be held responsible for the injury caused by their product,” explains Attorney Joel Hamilton of Schiller & Hamilton Law Firm. “This can happen even if they issue a recall when a defect is discovered.”
Though product safety recalls can help consumers to avoid injury from an unsafe product, the recall itself does not absolve a company from any damage caused by the unsafe product they produced.
Recently, Allergen issued a recall for textured breast implants they produced called BIOCELL, because the FDA discovered a link between some cases of a rare cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). BIA-ALCL is not a form of breast cancer; it is actually a slow-growing, highly treatable form of lymphoma. It is also important to note that BIA-ALCL is an extremely rare form of cancer, and even in individuals who have BIOCELL breast implants, they are unlikely ever to be affected by BIA-ALCL.
These BIOCELL implants were recalled as a precautionary measure and have been taken off the market. However, the FDA recommends that individuals who have this particular type of breast implant do not have them removed if they have no signs or symptoms of BIA-ALCL. The FDA instead recommends that individuals who may have Allergen’s BIOCELL breast implants consult with their doctor, verify the make and the serial number of their implants, and then familiarize themselves with the symptoms of BIA-ALCL and monitor their health in case any symptoms arise. If any symptoms do arise, or a patient has any questions or concerns about their implants, or prior medical or surgical procedures, they should not hesitate to consult with their doctor.