Silicone gel breast implants can offer women beautiful, natural looking results from their breast augmentation. The silicone gel inside these implants is thick and sticky, providing stability and natural movement. However, the stability also means that if a rupture occurs the silicone gel may stay close to the shell and not show physical symptoms of a rupture, it is “silent.” The FDA recommends women with silicone gel breast implants get an MRI scan three years after a breast augmentation, then every two years for the life of their implants. Unfortunately, MRIs are expensive and time consuming, leading many women to put off their scans. We spoke to Dr. Michael Leadbetter, a senior partner of the Plastic Surgery Group, about a new, easier option for Cincinnati, OH and Crestview Hills, KY, silent rupture detection.
What is High Resolution Ultrasound?
Ultrasound machines use non-invasive sound waves to create a real-time picture of what is happening inside your body. New high resolution technology is available making this picture clearer than ever, and allowing surgeons to see breast implants specifically. The partners at the Plastic Surgery Group along with Dr. Leadbetter have been on the forefront of this technology, and he explained his first impressions of high resolution Ultrasound (HRUS).
“ So far, I’ve been amazed at how well the resolution is. Now obviously, there’s a learning curve, and we are learning more and more as to what we’re looking at, especially when we’re dealing with the difference between smooth-walled implants and textured-surface implants. But, the fact that this ultrasound is specific frequency to the breast implant itself makes it a more valuable tool. Whereas, the high frequency ultrasounds that they’re using for breast diagnostic is resolution that applies both to the breast tissue and the implant. Now we have one that applies strictly to the implant itself. We’re going to have a library here in the very near future that’s going to give us the ability to pretty much evaluate anything that has to do with the implant.”
Why is Cincinnati, OH, and Crestview Hills, KY, Silent Rupture Detection Important?
Every woman has a right to know what is happening inside her body. Patients should know about ruptures so they can decide how to move forward with their healthcare. According to Dr. Leadbetter,
“Ultrasound, mammograms, MRI scans, and imaging techniques that have been used over time to monitor our patients are a very important diagnostic tool in following the health of women’s breasts and their implants. We do a tremendous volume of reconstruction, as well as cosmetic breast surgery, so we have thousands of implants that we have been following over the years.”
How Do Women Benefit from High Resolution Ultrasound versus MRIs?
Why is HRUS an exciting new development for women with silicone gel breast implants? Dr. Leadbetter tells us,
“ with the new rules from the FDA, and the recommendations of doing MRI scans two years after surgery, then every three years thereafter, and mammograms when necessary, these are expensive tests, especially for younger women who are not in the age group where mammograms are expected. So, to have a quick tool that can evaluate the breast on a convenient basis, on a yearly basis, that’s inexpensive and can be offered to our patients as they need it, is a tremendous opportunity. So, when we had the opportunity to take part in this national study, we jumped on that right away because we feel that this will be a tool in our practice that will be used to offer a noninvasive, inexpensive way of monitoring a silicone gel implant, especially with the data that’s coming out now about textured implants and helping patients with ALCL. Even though it’s rare, people are still concerned. They just are very interested in knowing what the status of their implant is, and if we can offer that to them, that’s just a great bonus.
“ The problem is, with the other tests, they’re not only expensive but there’s a lot of false positives. We have experienced, in our practice through the years, operations where we’ve gone in because of an “abnormal” MRI scan and found that the implants were perfectly fine. So, there were times when we did negative explorations that could have been avoided had we had the ability to do a quick screening technique to confirm with the MRI scans. So, MRI scans are good to a certain extent, but they can also be a problem to a certain extent.
“ I make it very well aware to all of my patients that these are not lifetime implants, and they have a potential to fail. So, the ability to evaluate them on an annual basis and catch a failure or a defect that can easily be taken care of, many times in the office under local anesthesia, is a huge bonus to these patients. So, I find that this doesn’t scare the patients. They just look at this as a way for them to evaluate their implant and feel more secure with their implant in. So, I think, at this point in time, it’s a win-win for everybody.”
How Often Should Women Visit their Surgeon for Cincinnati, OH, and Crestview Hills, KY, Silent Rupture Detection?
Older implants have a statistically higher rate of rupture, but that doesn’t mean new implants won’t rupture. The truth is breast implants both old and new can rupture at any time, so making time for regular checks with your surgeon is important. Dr. Leadbetter explains that at the Plastic Surgery Group,
“ I’ve been fortunate in that, ever since I’ve been in practice, I recommend all my silicone gel patients see me every year. And when they have their mammograms done, I ask them to send me the results of the mammograms. Now in reality, say probably only if I’m lucky, I get 50% of those women to follow up on a regular basis. But still, that’s better than nothing. So, with the new ultrasound, we can actually communicate with our patients that there is something available to them that can easily evaluate their implant in the office in 15 minutes. So, the ability to do this becomes very important.”
How Do Patients Feel About Ultrasound for Cincinnati, OH, and Crestview Hills, KY, Silent Rupture Detection?
How do patients at the Plastic Surgery Group respond to this new technology? According to Dr. Leadbetter,
“ every patient that has taken part said it’s been great because it’s very easy for them to do. They get to lay there and get to watch the exam live. So, they can see it on the iPad, and they’re fascinated with what they look at because they don’t usually get a chance to see inside their breasts. All they could do was tell by how they feel. They don’t know what this little bubble is or what that little wrinkle is, and it gives them the ability to understand that by watching it live. So, I’m sure, within the next year, we’re going to have 100 plus, maybe many more, that will take part with this because everybody has been very positive about it. They’re going, ‘Oh you mean I can do this while I’m in the office, on an annual basis, in 15 minutes? I’m in!’ So, I think that’s going to be very important to them.”
Can High Resolution Ultrasound Help Women in Other Ways?
Recently the FDA released information about a link between textured surface breast implants and BIA-ALCL. As Dr. Leadbetter mentioned above, the Plastic Surgery Group has already seen patients with concerns about their textured breast implants and ALCL. We asked how the recent FDA announcement has affected his practice, and Dr. Leadbetter responded,
“We’re starting to see some of those patients now that the textured implant information has gotten out there. We’re getting more people who are concerned about their implant, especially if they know it’s textured.
“ I’ve always used smooth implants pretty much, I’d say, 85-90% of the time for all my patients, except for post-mastectomy reconstruction and in the very early years of the bio cell implants from Allergan. So, very few of my primary augmentations have textured implants. But I think what’s going to have to happen is, we’re getting more and more data now. Some of the patients recently being put in our study had textured implants in, and most of the early part of the patients we enrolled in our study had smooth-walled implants in. So, we’re now starting to learn the slight, subtle changes that may be apparent with a textured implant versus a smooth implant. Does that make a difference when you look at it on ultrasound? We’re just starting to learn a little bit more about that now, as a few more of the textured implant patients come in. So, I think it’ll be valuable to us. Whether it will change the way we approach textured implants, with everything that’s out there now, I’m not sure it will change it a whole lot, but it will still give the patient a little more data to help them make a decision about what they want to do.”
Visit Dr. Leadbetter for Cincinnati, OH, and Crestview Hills, KY, Silent Rupture Detection and More
Dr. Leadbetter is one of the most experienced plastic surgeons in the Cincinnati, OH, and Crestview Hills, KY, areas. At the Plastic Surgery Group, they offer the latest technology for safe and efficient cosmetic enhancement.
Considering breast implants in Cincinnati, OH or Crestview Hills, KY? Contact the Plastic Surgery Group today to discuss your options. Simply call 513-791-4440, or visit theplasticsurgerygroup.com. Their offices are located at 4850 Red Bank Expressway Cincinnati, OH, 45227, and 340 Thomas More Parkway Crestview Hills, KY, 41017. To learn more about all your options for breast augmentation, contact the Plastic Surgery Group today.