A research team at the University of Michigan investigated the effectiveness of MRI scans in detecting breast implant ruptures and found that among women who had no symptoms, the ruptures often went undetected. For women who had experienced symptoms of a ruptured implant, such as hardening of the breast or pain, detection rate was much higher. In a mixed screening of women with and without symptoms, ruptured implants in those with symptoms were twice as likely to be detected by the MRI.
Researchers said that the average age of the ruptured implants they saw was ten years—implants are not guaranteed to last a lifetime and often need to be replaced.
Though this data may be disconcerting, the study’s authors said further research needs to be done to determine the effectiveness of detecting a ruptured implant through an MRI. They also urged that the long-term health effects of a ruptured implant need further study.
Plastic surgeons successfully use breast implants as part of breast augmentation to increase breast size and projection as well as in breast lift surgeries to lift sagging breasts, which may have also lost volume.