A Mississippi woman alleges in a new product liability lawsuit that she developed a rare form of lymphoma from textured breast plants manufactured by McGhan Medical Corporation. According to the claim, the textured design of the implants resulted in the development of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) in the tissue surrounding the implant. BIA-ALCL is a rare disease seen only in women with a breast implant and it is sometimes referred to as a “man-made cancer,” since it is linked to a specific medical device and was only identified for the first time in 1997. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with BIA-ALCL from a textured breast implant, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills and other damages. Contact a reputable breast implant cancer lawyer today to discuss your options for legal recourse.
Certain types of breast implants have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and cancer-related death, namely implants with a special textured surface. In fact, nearly all reported cases of a rare and potentially life-threatening lymphoma have implicated breast implants manufactured by Allergan that feature the company’s unique “Biocell” textured design, which is meant to adhere to the tissue that surrounds the implants and prevent them from moving around within the implant pocket. This rare type of lymphoma is so closely related to the use of textured breast implants that the cancer is referred to as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). BIA-ALCL is not a breast cancer, the FDA reports. Rather, it is a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) that typically occurs in the scar tissue and fluid surrounding the implant. However, BIA-ALCL can also spready throughout the body and can lead to death, especially if the cancer is not diagnosed early or treated promptly.
Dozens of lawsuits have been brought against Allergan and its subsidiaries in recent months, alleging that the manufacturer knew about the risk of BIA-ALCL for years, yet did nothing to warn or protect the safety of patients. This new lawsuit alleging cancer from textured McGhan implants was filed by Jaime Hallman Guttierrez in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on January 15. In her complaint, Guttierrez states that she received the breast implants in August 2003. The implants were subsequently removed in December 2019, after the cancer was discovered. The lawsuit names as defendants Allergan, Inc., which purchased McGhan in 2006, and its subsidiaries, and alleges that the companies failed to adequately notify patients or the medical community about the potential risk of developing BIA-ALCL from textured breast implants.
“Despite having knowledge and possession of evidence showing that the use of the McGhan Breast Implants was dangerous and likely to place consumers’ health at serious risk […] Defendants refused or recklessly failed to identify, disclose and warn of the health hazards and risks associated with the product, and about all adverse events which were known to Defendants,” Guttierrez’s lawsuit states. “Instead, Defendants marketed, advertised and promoted the product while at the same time consciously refusing and/or recklessly failing to monitor, warn, or otherwise ensure the safety and efficacy for users of the McGhan Breast Implants.”
Just last year, Allergan was forced to issue a worldwide recall of its Biocell textured breast implants and tissue expanders, after it was discovered that the breast implants were linked to a cancer risk that was considerably higher than any other type of implant. The recalled products featured the “Biocell” textured surface, which was only used by Allergan and which some say was a replacement for the McGhan design. At the time of the recall, the FDA indicated that it had received reports of 573 cases of BIA-ALCL, 84% of which involved Allergan breast implants, and 33 deaths, more than 90% of which involved Allergan implants in cases where the manufacturer was known.
In its Allergan recall announcement, the FDA noted that “the risk of BIA-ALCL with Allergan BIOCELL textured implants is approximately 6 times the risk of BIA-ALCL with textured implants from other manufacturers marketing in the U.S.” Other sources estimate the risk to be even higher. In one study published in June 2017, researchers found that certain textured breast implants may increase the risk of BIA-ALCL by anywhere from 10 to 14 times, when compared to nontextured, or smooth, breast implants. In another study published in the journal JAMA Oncology in January 2018, researchers found that the risk of BIA-ALCL in women with breast implants was one in 35,000 at age 50, one in 12,000 at age 70 and one in 7,000 at age 75.