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Message for patients having had breast implant surgery at the MUHC

MONTREAL — Health Canada has recently published an update indicating an increase in the number of cases of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) associated with textured breast implants reported among Canadian women.

According to Health Canada, BIA-ALCL is a serious but rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (a cancer that affects the immune system) that may develop many months or years after a breast implant procedure. It is not a cancer of the breast tissue. BIA-ALCL usually presents as an accumulation of fluid (known as a seroma) between the implant and the surrounding tissue. This type of cancer is very rare. To date, only one case has been reported in Quebec, and the patient has been successfully treated. Furthermore, in the absence of symptoms, there is no need to worry.

The MUHC has also set up a telephone line for our patients.

If you are a patient who has had breast implant surgery at the MUHC and you notice unusual changes in your breasts, including pain, sudden swelling or a mass, please call 514-934-1934, ext. 35953, and leave us your name, phone number, health insurance card number and hospital card number. A nurse will contact you within 48 to 72 hours for a follow-up.

At the request of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), the establishments of the health and social services network, including the McGill University Health Center (MUHC), are reviewing their records of patients who have had implant-based breast reconstruction surgery since 1995 to identify those who have textured breast implants. These patients will be contacted to inform them of the very low but potential risk of BIA-ALCL, and the symptoms or signs to monitor (breast swelling, pain or a palpable mass). Patients with any signs, symptoms or concerns should make an appointment with their plastic surgeon at the MUHC.

It is important to remember that the risk of developing BIA-ALCL after breast implant surgery is very low, and the current recommendation for patients with textured breast implants and no signs or symptoms is routine follow-up with their physician.

For more information, we invite you to visit the MSSS's website (in French only) and Health Canada’s website, where you will find detailed information on the subject.

About the McGill University Health Centre

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is one of the world’s foremost academic health facilities. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of its founding hospitals, the MUHC provides exceptional multidisciplinary patient-centric care. Affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, the MUHC continues to shape the course of adult and pediatric medicine by attracting clinical and research expertise from around the world, assessing the latest in medical technology, and training the next generation of medical professionals. In collaboration with our network partners, we are building a better future for our patients and their families; for our employees, professionals, researchers and students; for our community and above all, for life.


If you are a member of the media, please contact the MSSS media line at 418-266-8914.