DOI: 10.1097/gox.0000000000003843 ISSN:

Supporting Women’s BIA-ALCL Decision-making: Role of the Individual Consult in Empowering the Patient–Physician Team

Jade O. Park, Carmen E. Webb, Claire F. Temple-Oberle
  • Surgery
  • General Medicine


Breast implant associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a T-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and an uncommon risk of textured breast implants. Over the past decade, concern about BIA-ALCL has been increasing among both patients and surgeons. Patients are seeking a better understanding of their BIA-ALCL risk toward identifying a personalized care plan. This quality improvement project examines the value added by pairing group-based patient education seminars with one-on-one consults.


Individual consults were held following educational group seminars. Consult field notes underwent qualitative thematic analysis. Themes were cross referenced against a quantitative chart review of patient BIA-ALCL prophylaxis decisions over time.


Four key themes were identified: weighing, perceiving, guiding, and supporting. Weighing considers the risk-benefit assessments patients make when weighing their BIA-ALCL risk. Perceiving describes the underlying psychosocial factors that frame patient perceptions of BIA-ALCL risk. Guiding presents the levels of guidance that patients require when making BIA-ALCL prophylaxis decisions. Supporting explores the therapeutic value of the individual consult. Ultimately, 41% of post-seminar consult attendees sought explantation, compared with 4% among patients who did not participate in this program (P < 0.001).


Key lessons include the following: (1) patients weigh BIA-ALCL risk against perceived surgical risks and the value of their reconstruction; (2) patients can benefit from a personalized balance of autonomy and surgeon guidance when selecting a BIA-ALCL prevention plan; (3) surgeons should seek to understand the psychosocial factors that may underlie patient perceptions of BIA-ALCL risk; and (4) individual consults can be therapeutic and help strengthen the patient–surgeon relationship.

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