Do you know where your breast ID card is? Every breast augmentation patient is given one after her procedure. It has all the pertinent information about your implant, such as manufacturer, size, and type. Looking somewhat like a typical business card, it is unfortunately the kind of thing that is pretty easy to misplace. Since breast augmentation surgery is still the most popular procedure in the world, this means that there are a lot of women walking around with no clue as to what device rests inside their chests. And with the recent link between ALCL and textured breast implants, knowing the details about your implant has become a safety concern.
In an effort to help keep both patients and surgeons informed, The Aesthetic Society (ASAPS) just announced that they are developing “The Patient App,” a digital wallet containing all of your implant information. Our panel of experts weigh in on what is sure to be a game changer.
Where is Your Breast ID Card?
Dr. William P. Adams Jr. of Dallas, TX sat down with his colleagues Dr. Jason Pozner of Boca Raton, FL, Dr. Ned Snyder IV of Austin, TX and Dr. Lee Thornton of Meridian, MI to discuss the new Patient App that is being developed by The Aesthetic Society with the support of a grant from Allergan®. The app will basically be a digital passport including a patient’s breast ID card.
The ID card includes:
- serial number
- name of your plastic surgeon
- implant size
- date of your surgery
- smooth or textured
- saline or silicone
- shape of the implant and projection
- implant design
Since the majority of patients don’t have an issue with their implants, they often forget about the card. Many lose it all together. This can become a problem when their implants need to be replaced or when there is a safety concern, such as the recent one involving textured implants and a rare form of cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).
The Patient App = Digital Breast ID Card
The Patient App will help bridge this knowledge gap by providing breast implant patients with a literal digital breast ID card. This will also help improve communication between the patient and her plastic surgeon. The development of the app is the result of a March 2019 meeting with the FDA and Plastic Surgery Devices panel with input from members of the Aesthetic Society. The goal was to discuss ways in which to increase breast implant safety. The findings from this meeting showed that improved patient monitoring and data collection are crucial for keeping patients safe and informed. While the Patient App is meant to help surgeons and the FDA, it is designed for and accessible to patients. This is what makes it so different. Every breast implant patient will have easy access to her records on her cellphone.
Great for Patients & Plastic Surgeons
Dr. Pozner loves the idea of an app that stores a patient’s implant information. “I think it’s going to be really good for the patients and physicians to keep track of things,” he shares. Like his other colleagues, it is incredibly normal for a patient to come in to discuss her fears about the recent recall by Allergan of their Biocell textured breast implant, for example, yet have absolutely no idea if she has a textured breast implant or not. This way, the surgeon can simply look the information up online. It allows for some consistency in the reporting.
Dr. Snyder agrees. If a patient has 10 year old implants, “rarely do we know what they are,” he says. “Patients don’t keep track of cards.” It’s too easy to get lost and medical records are only kept in a doctor’s office for so long. So, this could be a real game changer. It’s a fairly new thing for there to be any kind of database when it comes to medical devices. And what’s different and great about this one is that it will accessible to patients.
The Aesthetic Society Taking a Proactive Stance
When Dr. Thornton first read the press release, his initial thought was no surprise. “It’s the Aesthetic Society, and I firmly believe that ASAPS is the best medical profession organization that I’ve ever seen. We are proactive. We are on top of things like this.” He also feels that this is just the beginning. There will be more things like this in the future to help keep patients educated, informed and able to communicate quickly and efficiently with their plastic surgeons. “I think it’s an awesome thing that they are doing,” he concludes.