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MRI detects ruptures more accurately than ultrasound

When deciding to get breast implants, it is imperative to understand all the risks. For one, breast implants do not last a lifetime. The average life span of breasts implants is around 15 years. So what happens when you’ve reached that time limit? Your breast implants could rupture. At this time, you need to get them redone. How do you know if your implants did rupture? Sometimes you’ll experience symptoms. Your breasts could appear smaller. Not everyone experiences symptoms. This is known as a silent rupture. The only way to be sure of a rupture is getting an ultrasound or MRI.

A new study conducted by Dr. Mario Rietjens and colleagues of the European Institute of Oncology, Milan reveals that an MRI may be more accurate in detecting leaks in implants than an ultrasound. Women coming in for a follow-up after their breast implant procedure have, until recently, gotten ultrasounds to detect for leaks. The new research suggest that plastic surgeons should use an MRI prior to performing a second breast surgery.

The research compared the results of an MRI and ultrasound on 102 women. Each of these women underwent breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Many of these women complained of the cosmetic aspects of their breasts and later went in for another surgery. The average time for women to get a second breast surgery was five years following the initial procedure. No woman had symptoms of implant rupture prior to the second surgery.

Each woman underwent an MRI and ultrasound before getting their breasts redone. Researchers found that 28 percent of women had a rupture in their implants. The results of the testing determined that an MRI is 94 percent accurate in detecting leaks and ultrasounds are only 72 percent accurate. The rate of false negatives was also lower in MRI scans. False negatives appeared in nine percent of ultrasounds and four percent of MRIs.

Many women that have to undergo a mastectomy will immediately get their breasts reconstructed. If an implant ruptures, that patient will have to undergo even more surgery. Women suffering from breast cancer already have to undergo enough surgery and medication that a second breast implant surgery should be avoided at all costs. The complication rate increases for women undergoing the second surgery. The complications that could arise are a hardening around the area of the implant, scarring or severe pain.

Over the many years that breast augmentations have been performed, it is unknown exactly how many women have experienced ruptures. One thing is for sure that the longer the breast implant is in a woman’s body, the more likely is could rupture. Sometimes a rupture won’t cause any symptoms for the women. A rupture could even be missed on a physical exam. It is important for women with breast implants to attend all their follow-up appointments and undergo either an MRI or ultrasound.

If you are considering a Des Moines breast augmentation, schedule a consultation with Dr. Franks. He can answer any questions you may have about the long term effects of surgery and ease your nerves about the procedure. For more information, contact 515.421.4299.

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