Improving the safety of breast implants: implant-associated lymphoma

Ingrid Hopper, Susannah Ahern, John J McNeil, Anand K Deva, Elisabeth Elder, Colin Moore and Rodney Cooter
Med J Aust 2017; 207 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00005
Published online: 28 August 2017

A likely causal link between breast implants and lymphoma highlights the importance of a prospective registry

Breast devices, including implants and tissue expanders, are classified as class III (high risk) medical devices by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and are subject to the highest level of regulatory control. They have been associated with highly publicised health scares in the past, particularly, the Poly Implant Prothèse crisis.1 More recently, breast implants have again created national concern, with the Therapeutic Goods Administration confirming in late 2016 that there were 46 reports of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) in Australia, including three cases that resulted in death. This number has since increased to 53.2 Most breast implants are used in young women and in women who have had breast cancer, thus long term exposure to these devices can be anticipated. It is therefore imperative to identify serious adverse effects at the earliest opportunity. The Australian Breast Device Registry is ideally positioned to do this, but it requires sufficient resources and engagement to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.

  • Ingrid Hopper1
  • Susannah Ahern1,2
  • John J McNeil1
  • Anand K Deva3,4
  • Elisabeth Elder5,6
  • Colin Moore1,7
  • Rodney Cooter1,8

  • 1 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW
  • 4 Integrated Specialist Healthcare, Sydney, NSW
  • 5 Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, Sydney, NSW
  • 6 Breast Surgeons of Australia and New Zealand, Sydney, NSW
  • 7 Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery, Sydney, NSW
  • 8 Australasian Foundation for Plastic Surgery, Sydney, NSW



The Department of Health provides funding for the Australian Breast Device Registry. Ingrid Hopper is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council early career fellowship.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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