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.
Once your implants are 5 years old, we recommend ultrasound screening of the implant every two years. This can be easily done at the time of a mammogram, or with our in-office service. Dr. Fiala offers 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, if Dr. Fiala sees something on the scan that might require a surgery.
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. The average duration of a silicone gel breast implant is 12-14 years. Currently, the FDA recommends either ultrasound or MRI imaging of silicone breast implants, beginning at year 5 after surgery, then every 2 years thereafter.
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.
What is ultrasound imaging for breast implants?
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. And it can detect any unusual fluid around a breast implant. Ultrasound of the breast is much better at looking at the implants than mammography – which is really designed for breast cancer detection.
I have saline implants. Do I have to do ultrasound screening?
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.
Can you check me for other breast problems, like cysts?
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.
Is this routinely available everywhere?
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.