Have you checked your breast implants for rupture lately? Here’s why you should.
Breast augmentation is the top cosmetic surgical procedure in the US, with over 290,000 women choosing breast implants to enhance their appearance in 2016 alone. There have been many improvements made to silicone implants over the years, making them a safer choice than ever. But they are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and rupture carries some risks. So if you have silicone breast implants, it’s important to make implant MRI screening an integral part of your overall health and wellness routine.
Ruptured implants are a common risk
Recent studies have shown that up to 1 in 7 breast implants rupture within the first 10 years. A rupture is a tear in the implant lining that leaks silicone into the surrounding tissue. This can cause pain, swelling, scar tissue, lumps and changes in breast shape.
Yet most ruptures display no symptoms or changes in breast appearance at all. These “silent” ruptures” often go undetected for years. And the longer you have implants, the more likely they are to rupture, requiring surgery to remove or replace them.
Breast augmentation surgery is a costly procedure that should keep your breasts beautiful for years to come. No one wants to experience the discomfort ruptured implants, the worry of not knowing if a silent rupture has occurred or the high-cost burden to surgically replace them.
The good news is that you don’t have to be unpleasantly surprised! The major FDA-approved breast implant manufacturers (Mentor, Allergan) offer a 10-year warranty on their implants. This means that if a rupture is detected within the first 10 years after initial implant surgery, your implants could be removed or replaced at no cost to you.
What is a breast implant MRI?
A breast implant MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is the most accurate method to detect ruptures before symptoms appear. Painless pulses of radio waves and magnetic energy are used to produce images of body tissue. There is no x-ray radiation and the breasts are not compressed during the procedure, resulting in a safe and comfortable experience.
How is an implant MRI different from a breast MRI?
Implant MRIs are designed to look at implant integrity only and are performed without IV contrast. Breast MRIs used to detect cancer, are performed with Gadolinium contrast delivered through an i.v.(intravenous catheter). Implant MRIs, therefore, do not detect cancer and do not replace the need for screening Tomosynthesis or screening breast MRI which is usually recommended for women with a high risk of breast cancer.
What are the recommendations?
In all women, the American College of Radiologists, Surgeons, OB-GYN and many other societies recommend annual screening mammography after the age of 40. To learn more about Tomosynthesis screening 3D mammography click here. In women with dense breast tissue, automated whole breast ultrasound is an added benefit.
In women with silicone breast implants, the FDA recommends that you check your implants through MRI scans starting 3 years after initial implant surgery, and every 2 years thereafter. If your implant has failed, your physician can provide you with options and assist you in making a claim on the warranty.
In women with high risk of breast cancer and breast implants, a breast MRI with contrast is recommended in addition to Tomosynthesis. To determine if you are at an elevated risk of breast cancer, risk assessment can be performed. If you have silicone implants, an additional scan can be performed at the time of your contrast MRI to determine if your implants are intact.
Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging is a premier provider of breast imaging services
Our fellowship-trained radiologists have the longest experience with Tomosynthesis 3D mammography, whole breast ultrasound and MRI in the central coast region.
Call us today at (805)560-8111 to schedule an appointment. Ask how we can save you time by scheduling your annual Tomosynthesis mammogram alongside your breast implant surveillance MRI scan!