Biofilm is a film that develops around an implant which is considered to be foreign by the body. All implants develop a capsule around them which is the body’s natural immune defence. This is normal however if a biofilm is present then the breast implant can develop a condition called a capsular contracture. It is interesting to note that biofilms have been identified on many different types of implants in the body not just breast implants. Examples of these include hip and knee replacements, heart valve replacements, pacemakers and the like.
The infection can lie dormant for many years and the only way it manifests is with a capsular contracture.
The cause of biofilm is a subclinical low grade infection (ie the patient is not aware of it) usually by a bacteria like Staph epidermidis. NB this is not ‘Golden Staph’. The infection can lie dormant for many years and the only way it manifests is with a capsular contracture.
There is some very early animal studies that have implicated biofilm with the development of ALCL (Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma). However the evidence for this is conjecture at this point in time.
This opinion piece was brought to you by Dr Damien Grinsell.