Background: Currently, magnetic resonance imaging is considered the accepted standard to evaluate breast implant integrity.
Methods: To evaluate its utility in diagnosing ruptured silicone implants in the setting of capsular contracture and to correlate the preoperative assessment of implant integrity with or without magnetic resonance imaging with operative findings, 319 capsulectomies (171 patients with capsular contractures) were retrospectively reviewed. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging was done on 160 implants, whereas the remaining 159 were evaluated using only physical examination and/or mammography. Postoperative results were analyzed to determine the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of preoperative magnetic resonance imaging in comparison with clinical and/or mammography evaluation alone.
Results: Although occasionally valuable, overall, preoperative magnetic resonance imaging was no more accurate than clinical evaluation with or without mammography in predicting implant status: magnetic resonance imaging 124 of 160 (78 percent) and clinical 121 of 159 (76 percent; p = 0.77).
Conclusions: In the setting of capsular contracture, physical examination with or without mammogram is as accurate as magnetic resonance imaging in determining implant integrity. Although magnetic resonance imaging is a sensitive diagnostic tool, in symptomatic patients with capsular contracture, it cannot be viewed as infallible.