MRI evaluation of post-mastectomy irradiated breast implants: Prevalence and analysis of complications

L. Rella, M. Telegrafo, A. Nardone, A. Milella, A. A Stabile Ianora, M. Lioce, G. Angelelli, M. Moschetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim To evaluate the effect of post-mastectomy radiation therapy (RT) on breast implants as detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) searching for short-term complications. Materials and methods One hundred and forty patients (total of 144 implants) were evaluated by MRI; 80 (group 1) had undergone RT, whereas the remaining 60 patients (group 2) underwent mastectomy with implant reconstruction without RT. Two radiologists evaluated MRI images searching for implant rupture signs, sub-capsular seromas, capsular contracture, soft-tissue oedema, peri-implant fluid collections. Implant ruptures were classified as severe complications; seromas and capsular contractures as moderate complications; oedema and fluid collections as mild complications. The prevalence of MRI findings in the two groups was calculated and compared by unpaired t-test. Cohen's kappa statistics was used to assess interobserver agreement. Results Sixty-nine out of 144 (48%) implants presented pathological findings at MRI with complication rates of 47.5 and 48.4 for groups 1 and 2, respectively. Two (5%) severe complications, 10 (26%) moderate complications, and 26 (69%) mild complications occurred in group 1 and surgical treatment was performed in 10 cases. Two (6%) severe complications, seven (23%) moderate complications, and 22 (71%) mild complications occurred in group 2 and surgical treatment was performed in eight cases. No significant difference between the two groups was found (p>0.1). Almost perfect agreement between the two radiologists was found for MRI image detection (k=0.86). Conclusion RT does not seem to cause a significant effect on breast implants in terms of complication rate in patients undergoing implant-based breast reconstruction. One-stage immediate implant-based breast reconstruction performed at the same time as mastectomy could be proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-953
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Radiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Medicine(all)


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