Breast Implant Rupture: Do I need an MRI?

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

Is getting an MRI necessary before OR after getting breast implants?

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.

If you’re needing an MRI before your breast implant or augmentation surgery, read our blog – How to get an MRI.

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 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.

Ruptures 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.

Phone us today on (03) 8849 1444 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.

Last updated: 02/12/2019
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Dr Rohit Kumar - MBBS MMedSci FRACS (Plas)