Breast Implant Risks Increase with Implant Age
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- New research shows the risk of silicone breast implant rupture increases with implant age. The study, supported by the International Epidemiology Institute, performed a set of two MRIs on 271 women whose breast implants were at least three years old.
Silicone breast implants are the preferred implants in Europe, but their use has been restricted in the United States since 1992. This restriction is partly due to the risk of ruptures that "often remain unnoticed by both patient and physician because the leaking silicone is kept in place by the surrounding fibrous scar tissue," researchers explain.
Participants in this study were given a baseline MRI to scan for possible ruptures, then given a second MRI two years later to again check for ruptures. Within this two-year period 10 percent of the implants showed definite ruptures and 7 percent of the implants showed possible ruptures, leading researchers to conclude, "A minimum of 15 percent of modern implants can be expected to rupture between the third and tenth year after implantation."
Some plastic surgeons suggest routine exchange of implants "exceeding 10 years of age," but this advice may provide false security. Further investigation of untreated silicone breast implant ruptures and their changes over time is needed.
This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.
SOURCE: Archives of Surgery 2003;138:801-806