What is the role of ultrasonography in the imaging of breast implants?

Updated: Jan 24, 2017
  • Author: Durre Sabih, MBBS, MSc, FRCP(Edin); Chief Editor: Mahan Mathur, MD  more...
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Breast implants have been used both for purely cosmetic reasons and postmastectomy. Saline implants have replaced silicone implants as the most common breast prosthesis. Silicone implant imaging is important because the clinical signs of rupture are often nonspecific. In contrast, saline implant ruptures are more obvious due to the decrease in breast volume from extravasated saline. [15, 16]

An intact implant shows a smooth, thin linear membrane with a sonolucent anechoic interior, reverberation artifacts from the proximal wall, radial folds, and linear echoes. With intracapsular rupture, a "stepladder" appearance may be seen. Additionally, one may observe focal irregular bulges and the margins can become ill-defined. With extracapsular rupture, hyperechoic noise or a snowstorm appearance may be observed. Silicone granulomas may be seen that can appear as focal lesions with a snowstorm appearance, hyperechoic, hypoechoic, or even anechoic lesions. [17]

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