Cosmetic surgery is a field that is constantly changing and growing from the discovery of new technology. Once upon a time, women had relatively few options for breast implants—now, breast implant options can be customized in countless ways with various types, shapes and styles.
Silicone gel implants in particular have made a huge splash in the cosmetic surgery world—the vast majority of augmentations performed these days use silicone implants over saline. And while silicone implants can be a great way to add a few extra curves to your figure, they still need to be examined by a doctor at least once every 3 to 5 years, just like any other medical-grade implant used in the body.
The reason that doctors recommend implant exams every few years due to rupture risks. Although rare, it is possible for leaks to develop in the implant shell and cause them to lose their shape. While saline leaks are simply absorbed into the body, silicone gel is designed to stay in place. However, this means a leak can go undetected for longer periods than saline.
To catch possible issues with silicone implants, your surgeon can use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to create a photo of the breast implant and surrounding tissue. This gives them information on the integrity of the implant shell, how the breast anatomy is responding to the implant and the presence of any wrinkling. These tests are essential for all silicone breast implant patients.
As with many medical devices, silicone implants require some monitoring. The risks of complications are small—yet an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and keeping regular appointments with your doctor is the best way to maintain your health and the quality of your surgical results.
Dr. Ditesheim is a plastic surgeon in Charlotte, North Carolina who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. To become board certified, a physician must complete a minimum of 5 years of surgical residency training, including at least 2 years of training specifically in plastic surgery, as well as pass rigorous written and oral examinations.
In addition, Dr. Ditesheim is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, an honor reserved for surgeons who have demonstrated highest professional standards for competency, ethical conduct, and training.