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Guide to getting an MRI before Breast Surgery or Breast Implants

Reasons you may need an MRI scan before having Breast Surgery

  • To check for existing breast implant integrity – to investigate the capsule/fibrous tissues
  • To evaluate a suspected breast implant rupture (MRI is better than a CT Scan or Ultrasound for detecting and assessing implant ruptures)
  • To assess Breast Asymmetry and Uneven Breast Proportions (Volumetric differences between the two breasts before you have Augmentation Mammoplasty Surgery or Implant revisions)
  • Determine the breast FAT TO GLAND Ratios (this informs the Liposuction OR fat grafting strategy for better breast shaping)
  • Discover accurate Breast Volumes rather than estimates
  • To check for complications such as a Haematoma or Seroma that might have developed after surgery
  • Post-op for a Breast Augmentation Mammoplasty about the 10-year check-up mark (although some women may choose to have them more regularly, such as every 2 to 3 years)

An MRI scan may also be indicated to evaluate Abdominal Pain after a Abdominoplasty procedure.

About getting an MRI Scan of the breasts

  • You must have NO METAL in your body to undergo an MRI – be sure you alert your Clinician to any suspected metals in your body and all prior surgery experiences
  • Scheduling an MRI is recommended for between Day 5 and Day 15 of your menstrual cycle
  • Some people find MRI™s a bit noisy or potentially claustrophobic, but modern rooms are generally comfortable and large; plus the MRI procedure often takes less than 30 minutes – let your Clinician know if you’re concerned
  • Contrast may be used. This means an injection may be given, with dye, to help provide a more accurate MRI reading
  • You’ll usually be given a private room to change into a gown, and have your scan in a hospital gown (usually open at the back, not the front)
  • You’ll typically be in and out of the MRI scan within 90 minutes max, and sometimes as little as 30 to 60 minutes – it all depends on how tightly the MRI clinic runs to its appointment schedule.
  • It’s best to allow 90 minutes or more – just in case, it takes longer.

Prices: How much does an MRI scan cost in Melbourne (MRI of the breast area)

  • You need a specific referral from your Plastic Surgeon
  • Book in with an MRI provider and attend your appointment
  • Allow about 1 hour to 90 minutes as some MRI and radiology clinics can have schedule changes
  • The report will usually be ready to pick up in a day or two (or delivered to your Surgeon)
  • They will sometimes give your images directly to you to take to your next appointment with your Surgeon. It can vary – ask when you book in.
  • Be sure you give the MRI clinic the full contact details, including your Surgeon’s full name, provider ID, FAX NUMBER and EMAIL and POSTAL ADDRESS, where you need the MRI scan report to go to.
  • If you DO get your images, be sure to take them with you to your next Surgeon’s appointment.
Bridge Rd Imaging (Assoc Prof Richard Sullivan)84 Bridge Road,      Richmond VIC 3121(03) 9242 4888
FMIG – Future Medical Imaging Group – Anthony Taranto109 Burwood Road,  Hawthorn VIC 3122(03) 9818 9400


Please make sure that your radiologist provides your surgeon with exactly what they want to find out and have in the report – call the clinic and ask if unsure – otherwise you may need a second MRI.

Breast Imaging Victoria East Melbourne – Mammograms29 Simpson Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002(03) 9419 6766
Breast Screen – MammogramLevel 1, 31 Pelham Street
Carlton South VIC 3053
13 20 50
Cabrini Medical Imaging243 New Street, Brighton(03) 9508 5757
Capital Radiology836 Port Melbourne, VIC 3207(03) 9348 3333
FMIG Footscray68-82 Hopkins Street, Footscray, VIC 3011(03) 9283 8500
MIVIR – Dr John Vratzis  
Epworth Imaging50 Burwood Road,
Hawthorn VIC 3122
1800 699 729
Epworth Richmond89 Bridge Road, Richmond VIC 3121 (03) 9426 6666
Healthcare imaging Services – 32 locations  
High Street Medical and Dental – Preston530-538 High St, Preston VIC 3072, Australia(03) 9092 2260
I-RAD Digital Sunshine – Ultrasound338-340 Hampshire Crescent Sunshine VIC 3020(03) 8311 6888
Lake Imaging North Melb, Sunbury, Caroline Springs1042 Western Hwy Caroline Springs VIC 3023(03) 9361 7900
Masada Hospital, Balaclava26 Balaclava Road
East St Kilda 3183
(03) 9038 1300
MDI Radiology  
MIA Doncaster and other locations2 George Street, Doncaster East, VIC, 3109(03) 9841 9133
Ringwood Radiology  
St Lukes Hospital Imaging Centre  
St Vincents Private Radiology – Fitzroy55 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia(03) 9231 1000
Western Health Radiology – St Albans176 Furlong Rd, St Albans VIC 3021, Australia6183456234

Regional & Interstate MRI SCAN/RADIOLOGY Provider Locations

  • Bairnsdale Hospital Imaging
  • Bendigo Hospital
  • Geelong Medical Imaging
  • Latrobe Regional Hospital
  • Marina Radiology
  • Regional imaging Albury
  • Darwin Medical Imaging
  • Armidale Radiology NSW

Is getting an MRI necessary before breast surgery?

Are you concerned you could have a potentially ruptured breast implant?

If you have a suspected breast implant rupture OR getting implants for the first time AFTER a certain age, you may be asked to have an MRI scan. Your Plastic Surgeon will usually advise you on whether or not an MRI is needed before surgery or in relation to a follow-up visit.

At the 10 year mark or for removal or replacement, you may be asked to have an MRI to help assess the implants.

Do women with breast implants need regular MRI scans?

  • Not necessarily, but follow the advice of your Surgeon.
  • Your Surgeon may request for you to have an MRI scan WHEN there is a reason to suspect a breast implant rupture
  • Some Surgeons, however, suggest having routine MRI scans after having Breast Augmentation Mammoplasty surgery.
  • Other Surgeons request an MRI before having breast implant surgery or REVISION Surgery and at the 10 year follow up mark.

Regular MRI scans may or may not be necessary after having implants, and may not detect all ruptures.

MRI Breast Scans may, however, help detect what’s called a ‘silent rupture’, described below where a patient experiences NO symptoms OR to help confirm a suspected rupture.

Definition of  ‘silent breast implant rupture’ – what does it mean?

  • A breast implant rupture is a potential complication of breast implant surgery
  • A suspected rupture means the patient has a symptom or concern
  • A silent implant rupture means a patient has experienced no recognisable symptoms of a breast implant rupture, even though there has been a compromise to the integrity of the shell

An MRI MAY help reveal a breast implant rupture; after which treatment options can be evaluated.

Indications found on breast MRI scans that may indicate a potential rupture include these terms:

Intracapsular rupture (Linguine Sign) on the MRI:

  • contents of the breast implant appear contained by the fibrous scar
  • the implant shell (casing) appears as a group of wavy lines.
  • Termed the “linguine sign” his has been most commonly described with MR imaging.

If you have a potential breast implant rupture that exhibits symptoms, you might experience:

  • Changes in breast size or shape (distortion)
  • Pain, soreness or swelling in the breast (typically in one breast)
  • Lumps, softening or hardening in the impacted breast
  • Read more about implant ruptures.

Rupture types that sometimes occur in implants

  • intracapsular (within or contained by the fibrous capsule or breast pocket tissues);
  • extracapsular, when silicone is said to leak.

Modern implants are made with cohesive gel contents, aimed to prevent leakage even in the event of an implant rupture.

  • Ask your Surgeon for more details or to schedule an MRI if you have a suspected breast implant OR
  • Schedule your MRIs if you have been recommended for regular MRI breast scans after having implant surgery

Some women have symptoms of a breast implant rupture, but others do NOT.

  • Today’s breast implants usually contain a cohesive gel texture.
  • This not only feels more natural than earlier types of implants, but they are far less likely to leak if there is a rupture or other compromise of the outer shell of the breast implant.
  • It is possible, however, for the fibrous tissue to become inflamed, leading to an increase in scar tissue and potentially to further complications.

How does an MRI differ from a CT or CAT scan? Definitions

  • A CT Scan (“CAT” Scan) is suited for viewing bones and skeletal injuries, chest/lung related problems, and certain cancers.
  • An MRI, rather, is suited for examining soft tissues including ligaments and tendon injuries, spinal cord damage, some tumours such as brain tumours, and more.
  •  CT scans are used in emergency rooms and often can take just a few minutes to perform.
  • An MRI, on the other hand, is more complex; and can take up to 30 minutes.
  • Contrast may or may not be used with medical scans.

What about an Ultrasound to check Breast Implants?

Some women choose to have an Ultrasound to check their breast implants. However, results are not always accurate. An MRI may still be necessary.

Sources for further reading about increased Ultrasound requests for breast implant imaging and rupture detection:

Author: E Swanson – ‎2018

Phone us today on (03) 8849 1400 if you have a concern about a potential breast implant rupture OR want to request an annual re-examination and MRI to assess your concerns and treatment options.

Visit our Downloadable Guides pages

For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.

Guide to getting an MRI before Breast Surgery or Breast Implants - 1

Download our free guides or call (03) 8849 1400.

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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