Diagnostic value of clinical examination and various imaging techniques for breast implant rupture as determined in 81 patients having implant removal

South Med J. 1996 Apr;89(4):397-404. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199604000-00009.


To determine sensitivity and specificity of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasonography (US) in the detection of breast implant rupture, and also to determine the relative merits of clinical examination and mammography, we studied 81 patients (160 implants). All patients had implants removed, thus allowing confirmation of the presence or absence of rupture. Clinical examination positively identified only one patient with implant rupture, and mammography detected only two implant ruptures (both extracapsular). The sensitivity for US was 70% and specificity was 90%, while for MRI it was 75.6% and 94%, respectively. These differences between MRI and US were not statistically significant. Combining the results of US and MRI did not seem to add to the diagnostic discrimination. The most cost-effective method of diagnosing implant rupture was US in our study.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Implants* / adverse effects
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography