Checking your implants is important.
Women who have silicone breast implants should have them checked periodically, to make sure the implants are intact.
Since physical exam of the breast isn’t all that reliable for this purpose, and can miss issues, we instead rely on imaging of the breast, with either ultrasound or MRI. Both are very accurate for detecting implant issues.
If your implants are more than 6-7 years old, we recommend ultrasound screening of the implant. This can be easily done at the time of a mammogram, or with our in-office service. Dr. Fiala performs ultrasound follow-up of breast implants at no additional charge for all of his implant patients.
If you are concerned about your implants, suspect a rupture, had trauma to the breast, or notice a change in the shape, size or feel of the breasts, you can be screened in our Altamonte Springs office to help determine if your implants are intact or not. Additional testing may be necessary in some cases.
Although the current generation of breast implants are strong and durable, and are able to withstand tremendous pressures when new, they do not last a lifetime. After 7 to 8 years, implant shells (the outer layer) can weaken, and the shell can begin to tear. Currently, the FDA recommends MRI imaging of silicone breast implants at years 3, 5, and 7 after surgery; but, this is often too early to pick up most implant problems. And getting approval of the MRI from an insurance company can be a hassle.
High-Resolution Ultrasound (HRUS) has been shown to be a good alternative to MRI to monitor the condition of breast implants. It’s convenient, and gives our patients peace of mind and reassurance.
Just like an obstetrical ultrasound shows pictures of a developing baby, breast implant ultrasound can be used to get a very good picture of the implant shell. It can see breaks in the shell, and any silicone gel that is outside of the shell. Ultrasound of the breast is much better at looking at the implants than mammography – which is really better for breast cancer detection.
Since a deflation of a saline implant becomes very obvious in a short time, with loss of implant volume and breast shape, these can usually be detected by the patient. Usually, imaging is not needed to make a diagnosis of a ruptured saline implant – most women can tell by looking in a mirror whether the saline breast implant is intact or not.
Since Dr. Fiala is a plastic surgeon, and not a radiologist, he limits himself to evaluation of the breast implant only. Other issues of the breast can be more complex to interpret, requiring specialized training, and the images are best reviewed by a board-certified radiologist.
No – Dr. Fiala is one of the few plastic surgeons in the area to offer this additional service. And it is included free of charge for patients who have breast implant surgery with Dr. Fiala.