Rare immune-system cancer linked for first time to buttock implant

By Sasha Chavkin
/ February 25, 2019

U.S. plastic surgeons are reporting the diagnosis of a buttock-implant recipient with rare cancer previously linked only to breast implants.

The University of Southern California surgeons described the discovery of “gluteal implant-associated” anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) as a first.

The surgeons from the University’s Keck Hospital outlined their findings in a Feb.15 article in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, a leading plastic surgery journal.

The findings come in the wake of the International Consortium of Journalists’ Implant Files investigation and as regulators across the world consider imposing new restrictions on breast implants due to growing numbers of women reporting breast-implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA ALCL). The immune-system cancer occurs in higher rates among women with textured implants, and regulators in Europe and Brazil have suspended several brands of textured implants from the market.

A French government inquiry recently recommended a permanent ban on one of the brands, Allergan Biocell, and health authorities in the U.S.are holding a public hearing on breast implant safety in March.

The authors of the new case study argued explicitly that their findings have wider implications for ALCL.

“The goals of this case report are thus to demonstrate that all patients undergoing implantation of textured silicone implants are at risk of developing ALCL,” they wrote.

In 2017, the most recent year on record, nearly 37,000 people worldwide received buttocks implants, artificial devices surgically placed in the buttocks to create volume, according to statistics compiled by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Anand Deva, a plastic surgeon in Sydney who has conducted extensive research on BIA ALCL, said the case study illustrates that multiple factors can cause implant-associated ALCL.

“This strengthens our hypothesis that implant-associated ALCL is multifactorial and likely to be a combination of texture, bacteria, genetics and time,” Deva told the ICIJ