Advertisement

'Why I Had My Breast Implants Removed' Before Ban Proposed By TGA

A NSW mother is glad she chose to have her breast implants removed, weeks before the country's medical device watchdog announced a proposed ban on some textured implants because of the links to a rare cancer. 

Kimberlee Kral was 31 years old when she got textured silicone gel implants to boost her self esteem after three children.

At the time she said she had done her research and wasn't concerned about possible health risks. But after a decade, she started feeling constant pain in one implant.

"They were fine for quite a while ... but after that time, I always knew they were there," Kral, now 43, told 10 daily.

"Sleeping on my stomach became an issue, as were the kids coming up to hug me."

Textured implants IMAGE: AAP

Kral had developed capsular contracture -- when scar tissue around the implant tightens and the implant becomes hard. She went to see a different plastic surgeon, who advised only removing the implants would eliminate her pain.

Twelve weeks later, she feels better than ever.

"I have no more pain. I've had no issues whatsoever since having them removed," Kral said.

The type of implants removed by Dr Barnouti. IMAGE: Supplied

On Thursday, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) proposed to ban, suspend or recall a number of textured implants due to their links to a rare type of cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

It recommended banning nine Allergan 'Natrelle' implant models and suspending several implants manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Adirel, Emagin, Emergo, Euro Implants and JT Medical.

It comes two months after Canada and France also banned certain textured implants from their markets.

READ MORE: Breast Implants Face Ban Over Cancer Fears 

BIA-ALCL is a rare type of cancer of the immune system that usually involves swelling of the breast, typically three to 14 years after the insertion of a breast implant.

The risk of the condition is between one-in-1000 and one-in-10,000.

As of May, Australian regulators had received 78 reports of anaplastic large cell lymphoma associated with breast implants, including four deaths.

While it's not a common condition, specialised plastic surgeon Dr Laith Banouti -- who performed Kral's removal procedure -- said explants are on the rise.

"Breast implant surgery in generally is becoming less popular and explants are becoming more popular," he told 10 daily. 

Dr Barnouti said he now does more explant than implant surgery. Image: supplied

According to Barnouti, an explant procedure costs between $5,000 and $7,000. Since the TGA announcement, he said he has already started receiving more calls from "panicked" patients.

But he is among experts urging those with implants not to panic, but to get across the facts.

"If you don't have symptoms, all you need to do is go and visit your surgeon for a check," he said. 

"There is no need to have them removed at this stage."

He also recommends visiting your surgeon annually for check-ups.

READ MORE: Why Women Are Having Their Breast Implants Removed

Breast implant-associated lymphoma is usually cured if detected early and symptoms can usually be treated while keeping the implant in.

Experts recommend looking out for pain and swelling of the breast around three to 14 years after surgery.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government supported the TGA's proposed action  and manufacturers now have until July 24 to respond before the regulator makes a final decision.

IMAGE: TGA

Allergan Australia said it was reviewing the TGA action in relation to its Natrelle Biocell textured breast implants and tissue expanders.

"Allergan continues to stand behind the benefit/risk profile of its breast implants" including its Biocell products, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

READ MORE: The 'Explant' Trend: When Bigger Isn't Necessarily Better

The company said there was no recommendation from any health authority, including the TGA, for patients with no symptoms to have their textured breast implants removed or replaced as a preventative measure.

Australia's peak body for cosmetic surgeons also said there was no cause for alarm for people who have the textured breast implants, and to consider all evidence before taking action.

"If you don't have symptoms, all you need to do is go and visit your surgeon for a check." IMAGE: Getty Images

The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery said the risks of developing a cancer that spreads is extremely small.

"If patients do not have any symptoms, there is no need for any action because of this TGA announcement," the College said.

Patients should speak to their surgeons if they have any concerns, it said -- a message shared by Kral.

"Everyone is different and everyone's implants are different," she said.

"Go and talk to your doctor and go from there."

Contact the authors alattouf@networkten.com.au / ebrancatisano@networkten.com.au

Featured image: Supplied