Portable, surgeon-performed, high-resolution ultrasound may trump magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) when screening for breast implant failure, a new study suggests.

The new research shows that high-resolution ultrasound provides excellent visualization of current fourth- and fifth-generation silicone gel implants. In addition, in vivo surgeon-performed ultrasound accurately identified implant status and correlated with radiologist-performed ultrasound, MRI, and surgical findings. The findings are published in the February issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

“Although we are still working to define the role of this technology in the screening and diagnosis of patients with different silicone gel breast implant styles, there are several obvious benefits over MRI, including convenience, cost, availability, and dynamic, real-time visualization of the implant,” says lead author Bradley Bengtson, MD, FACS, a plastic surgeon in private practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in a press release.

“For both the patient and the surgeon, portable, high-resolution ultrasound has many potential benefits over MRI in the setting of breast implant screening,” says co-author Felmont Eaves, MD, an associate clinical professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and immediate past president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in a press release. “This office-based technology may also have broader applications, such as hand and facial fracture identification and treatment, vein surgery and ablation, visualization prior to shaped implant rotation, identification and management of seroma, and general breast evaluation.”

A prospective study is currently ongoing to help define the sensitivity and specificity of high-resolution ultrasound in the evaluation of current implant designs. The new study was funded in part by a grant from the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation.

Source: The Aesthetic Surgery Journal