Breast implants tied to rare form of cancer recalled at FDA request

/ CBS/AP

FDA weighs possible cancer risks of implants

Medical device maker Allergan Inc. is recalling a type of breast implant linked to a rare form of cancer. The company Wednesday announced a worldwide recall of implants with a textured surface.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it called for the removal after new information showed Allergan's Biocell breast implants account for a disproportionate share of rare lymphoma cases. The move follows similar bans by regulators in France, Australia and Canada. The FDA had ruled earlier this year they could stay on the market.

The FDA is not recommending women with the implants have them removed if they are not experiencing problems.

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The recalled implants feature a textured surface designed to prevent slippage and to minimize scar tissue. Such models account for just 5% of the U.S. market. Most U.S. breast implants are smooth.

In May, the country's three largest breast implant manufacturers — Allergan, Sientra and Mentor — told CBS News textured implants have been extensively tested for safety and comply with FDA monitoring and that patient safety is their top priority.

But that wasn't good enough for breast surgeon Dr. Elisabeth Potter. She told CBS News she won't use these types of impants anymore because they don't pass what she calls at her practice "the sister test": If you wouldn't give it to your sister, you shouldn't give it to your patients.

Dr. Potter now specializes in using a woman's own belly fat to reconstruct a new breast, instead of using implants. If a patient wants a non-textured implant, she'll provide it, but said, "The power should be in the woman's hands. Let's give her the information and let her choose … This implant carries greater risk. Would you like it in your body? It's that simple."

First published on July 24, 2019 / 10:48 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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