Guide to getting an MRI before Breast Surgery or Breast Implants


Do you need to get an MRI before breast implant surgery?

Patients Who May Need An MRI Before Having Breast Implants or other Corrective or Reconstructive Breast Surgery

  • Patients who are scheduling surgery to Remove or Replace their Breast Implants
  • Patients with Breast Asymmetry (uneven breast size)
  • Breast Surgery performed elsewhere and where the implant size and type is unknown
  • Patients with possible breast implant rupture including silent rupture


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 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 about the 10 year check-up mark (although some women may choose to have them more regularly, such as every 2 to 3 years)

mri breast implant rupture mri-vs-ct-scan-costs-breast-mri-scan


An MRI scan may also be indicated to evaluate Abdominal Pain after a Tummy Tuck/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 very 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 it’s 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)

  • The price range of getting an MRI in Melbourne is around $400 to $650 out of pocket cost(s)
  • For some patients, Medicare Rebates or health fund cost contributions may be available for an MRI scan
  • Planning ahead is best. You can call around and find out who has the best prices OR who can get you in at a time frame that you need to proceed with surgery.

How to get an MRI if you’ve been recommended to get one before your breast augmentation/breast implant procedures.

  • 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.

breast mri - mri-vs-ct-scan-melbourne-breast-mri

MRI Scan Clinics – Recommended Radiology & MRI Scan Providers (Melbourne)

Bridge Rd Imaging (Assoc Prof Richard Sullivan)
FMIG – Future Medical Imaging Group – Anthony Taranto


Please make sure that your radiologist provides your surgeon with EXACTLY what they want to FIND OUT and have in the report – phone the clinic and ask if unsure – otherwise you may need a second MRI.

Breast Imaging Victoria East Melbourne – Mammograms
Breast Screen – Mammogram
Cabrini Medical imaging
Capital Radiology
FMIG Footscray
MIVIR – Dr John Vratzis
Epworth Imaging
Epworth Richmond
Healthcare imaging Services – 32 locations
High Street Medical and Dental – Preston
I-RAD Digital Sunshine – Ultrasound
Lake Imaging North Melb, Sunbury, Caroline Springs
Masada Hospital, Balaclava
MDI Radiology
MIA Doncaster and other locations
Ringwood Radiology
St Lukes Hospital imaging Centre
St Vincents Private Radiology – Fitzroy
Western Health Radiology – St Albans

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.

breast implant rupture mri scan results

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 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


  • help confirm a suspected rupture.

Additionally, some patients have certain health conditions that may lead them to want to undertake routine MRI scans after having breast augmentation surgery.



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.

Other breast MRI findings that indicate a suspected breast implant rupture include:

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.

breast-implant-rupture-mri-results and symptoms of a rupture on the MRI scan

  • Today’s quality breast implants usually contain a cohesive gel, or ‘gummy bear implant’ 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.
  • If an implant 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; if so, it’s injected and leaves the system rather quickly.

What about an Ultrasound to check Breast Implants?

Some women also choose to have an Ultrasound to check their breast implants – but results are not always accurate, so an MRI may be recommended to be sure.

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

Author: E Swanson – ‎2018

Phone us today on 1300 264 811 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.

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Last updated: 07/08/2020
Author profile image
Dr Craig Rubinstein - MBBS, FRACS (Plast)
Dr Craig Rubinstein MBBS, FRACS (Plast), a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, is one of Australia's most respected Melbourne Surgeons for Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift (Mastopexy), Breast Reduction surgery and Abdominoplasty procedures. Using advanced surgical techniques to gain better body contouring and natural-looking surgical results, Dr Rubinstein is highly regarded by peers and patients for best-practice Clinic Patient-care and patient education strategies. He published a chapter on corrective surgery for Breast Asymmetry. Qualifications/Training Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) The Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) The Australian Medical Association (AMA) American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS) Founder: Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men - Plastic Surgeons Group Bio Page: