Here’s What We Know About France’s Breast Implant Ban

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Last week closed off with France enacting their recently announced ban of several types of textured breast implants that have been linked to anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare form of cancer, making it the first country to do so. France’s National Agency for Safety of Medicine and Health Products (ANSM) has recorded 59 cases of the disease since 2011 with most women affected having textured, Velcro-like implants that adhere to breast tissue. The ban, which went into effect on Friday, April 5, affects macro-textured and polyurethane implants.

This is not the first breast implant news in France, but more a sequel to the breast implant scandal of 2010 when news broke that a popular brand of implants had been filling theirs with cheap silicone gel instead of medical-grade silicone. The company was ultimately shut down and the owner, Jean-Claude Mas, sentenced to jail time (he died the day before the ban went into effect). Women with that kind of implant were strongly advised to go through removal surgery, as the lower-grade silicone posed danger to their further health. 

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It is estimated that about 500,000 women in France have breast implants with at least 70,000 women with a textured option within only the past five years. The particular option in question is desirable because it can’t slip out of place or rotate, unlike smooth ones. It ultimately gives off a more natural appearance, though surprisingly is not a popular option stateside.

The French government had already asked one of the makers of the textured implant, Allergan, for data on the implants back in December of last year. The company was not able to provide it at the time. (Allergen stopped selling their implants in the European Union that same month after their certification expired.) Although ANSM did not find a direct link between cancer and the implants, the ban is a “precautionary measure.” Countries like Canada and the Netherlands have announced plans to suspend textured implants as well. The FDA plans to announce a decision in the coming weeks. 

Featured image: Stock Photos from rawpixel.com/Shutterstock