Do women with breast implants need to go in for an MRI scan every year?

I've been researching and have read that women have to go to get an annual mri scan once they receive implants to check if there are any ruptures. Is this true? Or can I just go to my PS annually to get checked?

Doctor Answers 9

Do women with breast implants need to go in for an MRI scan every year?

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The FDA recommendation for women with silicone gel breast implants is to have an MRI 3 years after the surgery and 2 years thereafter. There is no reason or real scientific reasoning for this since it has been shown that the average lifespan is many years, and even a decade or two  before the implants leak. There is a chance of False Positivity with having an MRI, meaning the MRI might show a rupture when there actually isn’t. What I generally recommend to my patients is that they may need a replacement of the silicone gel breast implants (average is about 15 years) and for them to come in for follow ups with me after the surgery to see if they have any irregularities in their implants or if there is any concern with implants such as capsular contracture or asymmetry. Otherwise, I generally will have my patients wait about 10 years before they get an MRI.

Do I need MRIs after having silicone breast augmentation?

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The FDA recommendation is that women have an MRI a few years after having a breast augmentation then relatively frequently after that. While this is a recommendation, one does not have to have MRIs after silicone breast augmentation unless there is  a specific concern for rupture. Even if there is a specific concern for rupture, the treatment would be to remove/replace the implant. If the treatment is the same regardless of having the test or not, then having this expensive test electively is not really necessary. In addition,  MRIs can lead to false positives and if there is no symptomatic reason to have the test you may end up buying yourself an operation for nothing. There are other medical reasons to have a breast MRI, but routine use of MRI after breast augmentation is not one of them.

MRI after breast augmentation

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The FDA recommends an MRI 3 years after breast augmentation with silicone implants and then every 2 years thereafter to monitor for rupture. Unlike saline-filled implants, if a silicone implant ruptures, you may not be able to tell clinically, so MRI is a way of surveilling the implant. Of course, MRIs are expensive and it is up to you to decide whether or not to have the study performed per the FDA's recommendation. There is a page on the FDA's website (fda.gov) regarding silicone gel-filled breast implants (last updated in September of 2013) which you can reference. 

MRI's are NOT needed after augmentation with gel implants

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as it is only a recommendation from the FDA to do so.  It is not a mandate and no one can force  you to have a MRI when you have to pay for it.  Silicone is safe to the best of our knowledge and now it is cohesive so it won't break into droplets if not contained in the shell.  My patients are counseled to not worry about it if everything is fine and the look and feel good.  But everyone should get an exam at minimum before 10 years out as the warranty changes then.  If the exam suggests a rupture (you cannot feel the implant anymore), you have to be willing to consider surgery.

Implants and MRI Scans

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Silicone implants are made with a #silicone outer shell and are filled with a gummy-bear consistency silicone on the inside. More women tend to choose silicone breast implants due to the natural feel and appearance. Silicone #implants are now made of a cohesive gel which are anti-leak even when cut. Look and feel like natural breasts due to the cohesive silicone gel material. New generation silicone gel implants are far superior than those used in the past and have a proven track record of safety. Silicone implants have gone through more testing than any other medical device and are the preferred choice for over the muscle implant placement.

The FDA recommends women with #silicone implants have periodic #MRI testing to ensure their implants are free from any defects.

MRI and Silicone Gel Implants

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Hello,
The FDA made recommendations in 2006 for women who get these implants to get an MRI 3 years after surgery, then every 2 years.  This is a recommendation and not mandatory.  Most (90%) women do not perform this rigorous schedule, and many wait 5 to 10 years. 
Best of luck!

MRI after breast augmentation

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Thank you for your question. The FDA does recommend that a patient with SILICONE implants be evaluated with an MRI starting 3 years after your surgery and then every other year. Saline implants do not require MRI, as it is usually quite obvious if these have ruptured as the breast will deflate.

Most patient's with silicone breast augmentation do not proceed with the FDA recommendations unless there is evidence of a rupture. Most plastic surgeons will want to evaluate you with a physical exam at least yearly to help you decide if MRI is needed.

Hope this helps.
Dr. Stutman

Ross Stutman, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon

MRI

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Women do not need an MRI after Breast Augmentation unless there is fear of a rupture, leak or the implant is causing excessive pain or discomfort.  With new digital imaging a woman can have a mammogram with implants.

Yoav Barnavon, MD, FACS
Hollywood Plastic Surgeon

The FDA recommendation for MRI's with silicone implants is every 2 years

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Thank you for your question.  The FDA recommends that women with silicone implants get an MRI looking for implant deflation three years after surgery and every two years after that.  Studies show that the chance of implant rupture in the first seven years is only about 1%.  Again, this is a recommendation, not a requirement. I advise my patients to see me yearly for an exam looking for rupture for which there is no charge. I feel that I can usually tell when a silicone implant is deflated. 

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.