The goal of this study was to gauge the public’s general perception of breast implants, levels of concern, spontaneous word associations, and misperceptions that might need to be addressed by plastic surgeons regarding breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) and breast implant illness (BII).
An anonymous survey was completed by a total of 979 female participants in the United States by means of Amazon Mechanical Turk.
Over 91 percent of participants indicated that they had never heard the term BIA-ALCL. Of the respondents who were aware of the term, 37.21 percent reported being moderately or extremely concerned about BIA-ALCL and 85.4 percent were less likely to recommend breast implants to a friend. Awareness of BII was significantly higher at 50.9 percent, whereas almost 40 percent of participants reported being either moderately or extremely concerned about BII. Over 78 percent of participants were less likely to recommend breast implants to a friend because of BII. The most common word association with BII was “pain,” followed by “cancer.” The terms “cancer” and “scary” were the two most common word associations with BIA-ALCL. A significant overlap in word associations was observed between BIA-ALCL and BII, potentially representing a lack of distinction between the two terms. The survey demonstrated a paucity of important knowledge within the general population; notably, 71 percent of respondents who were not aware that, to date, only textured implants/expanders were associated with BIA-ALCL.
These findings support the need for further targeted awareness to remedy existing misperceptions and fill the knowledge gaps relating to BII and BIA-ALCL.