What Information Will a Breast Implant Serial Number Give Me?

I got implants about 20 years ago (asked for saline, got silicone) and now one is leaking. I don't have any info. about my original surgery. I can't even remember the name of the doctor. Will the serial number of my breast implants help me find this out?

Doctor Answers 10

Serial number is important

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In Spain, and in Europe (Euroepean Union) from 2006 is a higher demand on assuring a reliable "PROSTHESE DATABASE".

We consider that i'ts very important to record all data concerming an implant surgery in the berast.

Prosthese "STYLE" (or model), MANUFACTURER, SIZE, MEASUREMENTS. SERIAL NUMBER and LOT NUMBER will give us exact information oh where, who and why this surgery was performed, apart from the fact of when and where those implants had been manufactured.

Unfortunetely, 20 years ago, these data were not recorded...

Spain Plastic Surgeon

No serial numbers on breast implants

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There are no serial numbers on breast implants. If you are considering having another surgery on your breasts, it is helpful to know what size your original implants are. You may go to the ASPS website and use the physician locator to try and find your surgeon. Put in the zip code of the city where you had your surgery and see if you recognize the name of any of the physicians listed, assuming that your surgeon was board certified. If you keep good financial records, you could also look at old checkbooks to see if the name of the surgeon or the facility are listed. Otherwise, your next surgeon will need to guess on what size you have based on measurements.

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Breast implant serial number

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If the implant manufacturer maintains data, you would be able to determine the size and type of implant. Generally, if you had the serial number, you would have all the other pertinent information. The manufacturers told patients and physicians that they were creating a database on silicone implants. However, I learned earlier this year that they stopped maintaining this information and did not notify doctors. There has recently been a demand that they forward data to the FDA. Physicians are required to maintain medical records for 10 years. However, I have kept all my breast implant files since going into private practice in 1984. Now that I am transferring records into a computerized scanning program, all records will be kept indefinitely. Patients should ask their plastic surgeons for implant data and keep it in a secure location. Excellent question!

Breast Implant Serial Number

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I do not think implants were assigned serial numbers twenty years ago and there were no long term warranty on your implants so I am afraid you are out of luck. With current implants, a serial number is assigned and tracked by the manufacturers and a lifetime warranty is provided.

Richard Linderman, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon

Implants and serial numbers

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I am not sure if 20 years ago they had serial numbers.  But, without that information at the minimum, I don ot know how you would get the information.  Now, patients are usually logged in with the manufacturer for tracking purposes.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Serial numbers on implants

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I was never asked about this until the horrific murder of the model out in LA who was identified by the serial numbers on her implants. Serial numbers have not been used for that long and I would doubt even if you know the manufacturer and the doctor who performed the surgery you would be able to know what type of implant you had and the size of the implants.

If one implant is leaking the other one may be intact. If this is the case when you have your surgery the doctor can determine the size of the intact implant by doing a volume displacement test. In all probability your implants and your body have changed over 20 years and you will probably need different size implants anyhow. You may even need a lift at this point in time.

Discuss your concerns and desires with your surgeon and make sure you are getting saline or silicone, whichever you prefer. If your implants are over the muscle you may want to have them under to place them in a virgin pocket without scar tissue. Good luck whichever way you choose to go.

Steven Schuster MD FACS

Breast Implant Serial Number

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If you have a record of the serial number, then your surgeon will be able to match the size of the implant more easily.  If you do not have a wriiten record or access to an op report (can you recall where the procedure was performed?), then it is very unlikely that you will be able to identify the size, etc.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Serial Number on Implants

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Depending on the manufacturer, you can obtain alot of information about the implant. This includes size, shape, volume, dimensions, fabrication, etc. This allows us to select a new implant that more closely represents the same shape if that is desired or to change specific contours that you desire. In some instanes, this may allow for replacement of the implant under the provisions of the warranty.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Serial numbers on implants

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We often face your situation where there are no records on an old implant that now has problems. I am surprised that you even know the serial number! If your manufacturer is still in business, it can help with knowing what size you have and that company will usually provide new replacement implants for free.

Breast implant serial number

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In most states, the hospital and doctors are required to keep records for 10 years. It is always helpful to know what implant we are dealing with before going in.

Around 1989 when you had your breast augmentation there were MUCH more breast implant producers selling their products in the USA than there are now.

This all changed in 1992 when the FDA stopped the general use of silicone filled implants for everyone, restricting it to a handful of categories. (This was done due to political motivation cloaked by the excuse that there was "insufficient evidence" to determine if silicone filled breast implants) were safe).

Many companies stopped producing implants - some filed bankruptcy. If your implants were made by one of these companies, the serial numbers would be meaningless. After surgery, as a point of general interest, if you had the time, inclination, the implants and you had the catalogs of all these companies, you could compare the marking that sometimes preceded the numbers and maybe find out who produced your implants).

Only 2 companies survived - Mentor and McGhan. McGhan changed its name to Inamed which was subsequently purchased by and became Allergan. Although most Plastic surgeons' offices have breast implants catalogs from both manufacturers this may also not be of much help for you now without knowing the serial numbers.

In your case, you have the choice of having the implants removed permanently or exchanged for other implants (with or without some form of a breast lift).

If you want them replaced you need to agree to the following:

Since your surgeon will not know the exact volumes until he/she actually examines the implants, you and him/her can agree on a range of breast implant volumes that could be used. After the implants are removed in surgery, temporary implants of different volumes (IE SIZERS) will be placed in the breasts and their appearances will be compared. Then, the most suitably sized implants will be used.

Modern implant serial numbers disclose the implant manufacturer, implant volume and style (MP vs HP). (Since the manufacturers know which serial numbers were sold to which doctor on rare occasions murders were solved by tracing the implant numbers to the surgeon who may be able to shed more light on the case).

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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.