Breast Implant Imaging Surveillance among U.S. Plastic Surgeons: U.S. Food and Drug Administration Recommendations versus Clinical Reality

Logan W. Carr, John Roberts, Alex F. Mericli, Jun Liu, Elsa M. Arribas, Mark W. Clemens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Device rupture is considered a major complication associated with breast implants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) surveillance 3 years after implantation and then every 2 years, but adherence to these recommendations is poor. The authors identified current practice management for breast implant rupture surveillance by surveying practicing U.S. plastic surgeons. Methods: An online survey of all active members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons was performed. Questions analyzed imaging practice patterns related to breast implants. Logistic regression models were used to analyze determinants for radiographic imaging in breast implant patients. Results: The survey had a response rate of 16.5 percent. For patients with breast implants, 37.7 percent of respondents recommended MRI at the recommended intervals. Fifty-five percent perform imaging only if there is a problem with the implant. Academic surgeons more frequently recommended MRI (56.3 percent and 39.3 percent; p = 0.0002). Surgeons with less than 5 years of experience are four times more likely to order MRI than surgeons with over 25 years' experience (60.8 percent and 28.1 percent; p < 0.0001). Furthermore, lower volume surgeons recommend significantly more MRI (45.2 percent and 27.3 percent; p = 0.001). Respondents are almost two times more likely to recommend MRI in reconstructive versus cosmetic patients (51.2 percent and 35.6 percent; p = 0.0004). Conclusions: MRI limitations include high costs, time commitments, and equipment constraints. Fewer than 40 percent of survey respondents suggest the recommended screening frequency to their patients; however, academic, low-volume, early-career surgeons are more likely to recommend MRI implant monitoring. Screening recommendations need to be evidence based and align with common practices to prevent undue system, provider, and patient burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1381-1387
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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