Ask Dr. Barber

Q. I have the implant that was recently recalled by the FDA. Do I need to do anything about this or is it safe to keep my implant?

A. If you know that you have the textured Allergan or McGhan silicone gel or saline implant, then yes, you should see the plastic surgeon who placed the implant. The FDA is not recommending the implants be removed; however, you should talk to your doctor and get the latest information on the reason why the implant has been recalled. There is a rare risk of developing breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). This is a cancer of the immune system that presents in the breast in the presence of this particular textured implant, called the Biocell textured implant, and manufactured by Allergan and previously by McGhan. The incidence of this disease is between one in 1,000 to one in 3,000 patients if you have this particular implant. The decision to remove or not remove the implant is yours, and if you feel strongly that you do not want to live with the risk of BIA-ALCL hanging over your head, then you should let your doctor know this. If you do not live in the same area where you originally had your surgery, do not remember who your plastic surgeon was or he/she has retired, then any board certified plastic surgeon who performs breast surgery should be able to help guide you regarding this issue.

Q. My son is a college student and is very bothered by his prominent ears. I never knew that he was sensitive about his ears, but he has recently opened up about it. He wears his hair long, so it is not very noticeable. Is my son too old to have ear surgery? I have always been told that this surgery should be performed as a baby.

A. Your son is not too old to have his prominent ears corrected. Although it is more common to perform ear surgery for prominent ears during the preschool years, I have done this surgery on adults as well as teenagers. The ears are definitely more malleable when the patient is younger, however it does not mean that the surgery cannot be performed successfully. It is probably best to do this surgery when your son has about a 3-week period where he is not in school and does not have to go to a job. I would suggest your son see a board certified plastic surgeon to talk about the issue and learn about what is involved in correcting the problem.

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