An Australian-lead team of researchers have discovered a link between breast implants that have been exposed to bacteria and increased risk of cancer. While this can lead to obvious concern, women with implants are urged by doctors not to panic.

40 documented cases in Australia and New Zealand

Published in the journal Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, the latest research analysed tissue from 22 women who suffered Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) post breast enhancement surgery.

The small study found that these women developed the rare cancer within eight years of getting breast implants. These implants were believed to be exposed to bacteria during the surgery.

“Once you have a contaminated prosthetic in the body, the body can’t get rid of it,” said leader of the research, Macquarie University associate professor Anand Deva.

“This chronic irritation goes on and on, and over a period of time, it stimulates the immune system where some of these cells can potentially transform into cancer.”

Dr Deva and other doctors specialising in this field, have stated there is no cause for alarm as very few women have developed cancer post breast enhancement surgery.

“In Australia and New Zealand, we’ve got around 40 documented cases,” Dr Deva said. “I don’t want anyone to panic because across the world, there’s probably about 300 cases worldwide.”

Most women who developed ALCL made a full recovery after undergoing surgery, but some patients were required to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy as part of their treatment.

Women considering breast implants are urged to seek out a qualified plastic or cosmetic practitioner prior to undergoing the surgery.  Dr Deva has also recommended a detailed plan for doctors to minimise the risk of infection, which includes advice on antibiotic regimes, wound irrigation, and minimal contact with the implants.

Fat transfer may be a solution for breast enhancement without implant

The recent research has no doubt deterred many women from undergoing breast enhancement surgery.  Breast implants are one of the traditional methods of increasing breast fullness, but it’s not the only technique on offer.

Fat transfer is a popular European procedure that uses the patient’s own fat to improve fullness and shape of the woman’s breasts.  This technique has been currently used worldwide as part of breast reconstruction surgery in cancer survivors, however in the near future Cosmos Clinic will be offering this procedure to our Australian patients looking to enhance their breasts.

By using the patient’s own tissues, the risk of cancer developing or coming back, in the case of women who have survived cancer, is minimised.

More cosmetic practitioners are opting to use the fat transfer technique to restore breast volume and to improve the shape. It can also be used as part of breast augmentation to smooth out any irregularities like wrinkles or rippling that can occur breast implant surgery.

You can read more about the surgery here.

Fat transfer breast surgery comes with plenty of benefits

Besides the reduced need for breast implants, fat transfer has globally become a popular cosmetic procedure due to its range of benefits.

As the patient’s own tissue is being used the risk of allergic reactions is reduced, and the results are permanent.

The relatively non-invasive surgery reduces the pain incurred and the time needed to fully recover.  If not using an implant, the incision required to inject the tissue into the breast may be much smaller and the scars are minimal, if visible at all.

For women seeking a very natural look, the fat transfer surgery may be the preferred cosmetic treatment. However, there are limitations as to the amount of volume which can be achieved as only small streams of fat is injected to ensure blood will grow into the tissues.  On average, patients can expect to see an increase in about 1 cup size using the fat transfer technique.  Depending on the patient and their breast size desires, fat transfer may be more successful in conjunction with implant surgery.

One of the great advantages of fat transfer surgery is not only will patients enjoy the fuller breasts they desire; the procedure will also remove unwanted fat from other areas of the body.  The preferred areas to remove the fat are the common problem areas like the abdomen, hips and thighs.  So you could potentially end up with larger breasts and a smaller tummy!

At Cosmos Clinic we welcome cosmetic surgery procedures that can help enhance our patient’s physique.  We’re thrilled the fat transfer technique will be available soon at our clinics and will help more women achieve natural, full breasts while minimising any risks.*

*Any invasive or surgical procedure carries risks.