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San Francisco, California-In 1992, the FDA placed a ban on silicone breast implants except for; research studies, reconstruction and breast revision surgeries where silicone was previously used. The FDA feared there may have been a connection to a variety of diseases including lupus and cancer. Studies for the next 14 years failed to show any evidence that silicone breast implants were the cause of any diseases.
Therefore, in 2006 the FDA determined silicone breast implants were safe and once again they became available for breast augmentation surgery. The FDA did stipulate, however, that a woman must be 22 years of age in order to have silicone implants. In addition, after 3 years they recommend that women have Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and then every two years after that to make sure that there is not a silent leak. Note that this is a recommendation, not a requirement.
Even with the added stipulation, 72% of women are choosing silicone implants over saline implants, according to a report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The main reason for choosing silicone over saline is the more natural feel of the implant.
Dr. Delgado explains to his breast revision patients that an MRI is different than a mammogram in that there is not any use of radiation; instead it uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and computer imaging of the breast. It is not a painful procedure and it usually takes about 30 minutes. An MRI should not take the place of a mammogram but should be done in addition if it is recommended.
With all the recent changes with medical insurance, it is hard to know if an MRI will be a covered test under any particular policy; it is advised that you check with your insurance company. If medical insurance doesn’t cover the MRI, it can be quite expensive, from about $1,500 to $2,000 or even more. Therefore, most surgeons tell their patients if they have any unusual symptoms or concerns they should be seen, and their surgeon will help them determine if an MRI may be appropriate.
If you discover you have a silent leak, Dr. Delgado will discuss your options of having your implants removed and/or replaced. If your original surgery was less than 10 years ago, the manufacturer will contribute to your breast revision surgery. Implants have a lifetime guarantee and will be provided at no charge if they are ruptured.