MRIs for Women With Implants

A recent article by NewBeauty magazine investigates the importance of MRI’s, and how they should be done, for women who have undergone breast augmentation with silicone implants. Since silicone implants we re-released on the market, there has been a debate as to whether women who have them should have an MRI lying down or standing upright.

Currently, the FDA recommends screening MRIs to check the integrity of the shell of the implant, but that there is controversy among plastic surgeons whether this makes sense.  The MRI is not perfect with a false positive rate of nearly 10%.  This means that 10% of the time, the MRI appears to show a rupture when the implant is in fact intact. So 10% of the patients may have an unnecessary—not to mention costly—operation to replace or remove the implant.

Experts are currently studying upright MRIs to gauge whether or not they offer improved screening results compared to the traditional reclined position. Keeping in mind that most implant leakage occurs at the bottom of the implant due to weight and gravity, some doctors argue that an MRI standing will be most accurate when mimicking the natural position of the implants and any possible leaks. MRIs in the recumbent position could possibly miss minor leaks due to the redistribution of the weight of the implant, or even be the root of the false positives.

While the debate is still in its inception, the FDA recommends that women with silicone breast implants undergo an MRI three years after insertion and every OTHER year following to screen for potential leaks or changes to the implant.

To Your Health & Beauty,
Dr. Kent Hasen

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