Doctor recently performed capsulectomy of 15 yr old saline implants, and replaced with silicone implants under the muscle in a new pocket. He said one of my old saline implants had heterotopic calcification and that this was very unusual for saline implants. Does this mean that I had bone growing on my old implants? Is that dangerous?
Heterotopic Calcification of Saline Implants
Doctor Answers (9)
Calcification around Saline Implants
Yes, calcification can occur around saline implants.
Calcification is a deposition of calcium (not bone formation) as a consequence of a chronic inflammatory process.
The term "heterotopic" means in an abnormal location.
There is no danger for you with this type of calcification, but they can create confusion on your mammograms. Calcifications can be a sign of cancer on a mammogram, though the pattern is usually different from what is seen with a calcified implant capsule.
The calcifications should have been visible on your previous mammograms. You and your doctors will want to monitor your future mammograms for signs of calcification.
Heterotopic Calcification of Breast Implant Capsules
Heterotopic Calcification. Let's first look at the definition of the words: Heteroptopic refers to normal tissue present at an abnormal site. Calcification means calcium (an egg shell is mostly calcium for example) not bone in which calcium is but one ingredient. Heterotopic calcification is not an unusual finding in implants over 15 or more years. It can be found with saline or silicone implants thought in my experience more common with silicone implants. It is not related with any disease process and cannot harm you though can feel uncomfortable as part of a capsular contracture, makes your implant feel hard, and your breast can be distorted by its presence.
Calcification around breast implants
Calcification around implants can occur with saline or silicone implants. It usually doesn't cause problems but it can make reading mammograms more difficult. When someone has extensive calcification and is undergoing a breast procedure (implant exchange or capsulotomy), I will remove all of the calcifications. This is accomplished by removing the entire capsule.
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Calcification of capsule
Calcification of the capsule can develop as a reaction of the capsule around the implants. This does not usualy cause a problem.
Heterotopic calcification of breast implants
In most instances this means calcification or a thin eggshell like collection of calcium deposits that form as par to of a chronic foreign body reaction to the implant
Heterotopic Calcification around Old Implant
It’s good that they were removed but this is not dangerous. The cause is a reaction by the breast capsule that forms calcium in the lining.
Heterotopic calcification is simply the accumulation of calcium deposits within the soft tissue. This can happen after prolonged inflammation, resolution of a hematoma, or in old fracture sites. Calcification of breast implant capsules does seem to happen more with silicone implants, but I have definitely seen it with saline implants.
Aberrant Calcification around Old Breast Implants
regarding: "Heterotopic Calcification of Saline Implants
Doctor recently performed capsulectomy of 15 yr old saline implants, and replaced with silicone implants under the muscle in a new pocket. He said one of my old saline implants had heterotopic calcification and that this was very unusual for saline implants. Does this mean that I had bone growing on my old implants? Is that dangerous?"
Not to worry heterotopic bone formation is nothing to worry about and is not dangerous. It is seen occasionally in cases of long-standing inflammation in which for an unknown reason, among the scar tissue put down by the body calcium is deposited as well which may resemble an oyster shell. This was seen more with old silicone gel implants but can be seen with ALL implants. It does not pose a health risk.
It sounds like you have a good and skilled surgeon.
Dr. Peter Aldea
Heterotopic Calcification around Breast Implants
I have seen calcification within the capsule around both saline and silicone implants. This has never contributed to a problem in my experience either with implant integrety nor with interpretration of mammagrams.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.