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Eur Radiol. 2013 Apr;23(4):991-6. doi: 10.1007/s00330-012-2667-z. Epub 2012 Oct 13.

Dual-energy CT for the evaluation of silicone breast implants.

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Department of Clinical Radiology, University of Munich-Grosshadern Campus, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377 Munich, Germany.



The evaluation of breast implants for rupture is currently the domain of ultrasound and MRI, while mammography is of very limited diagnostic value. Recently, specific visualisation of silicone has become feasible using dual-energy CT. Our objective was to evaluate whether it is feasible to identify silicone in breast implants by dual-energy CT and to reliably diagnose or rule out ruptures.


Seven silicone breast implant specimens were examined on dual-source CT at 100- and 140-kV tube potential with a 0.8-mm tin filter (collimation 128 × 0.6 mm, current-time products 165 and 140 mAsref with modulation, rotation time 0.28 s, pitch 0.55). Two patients scheduled for implant removal or replacement were examined with identical parameters.


The silicone of the implant specimens showed a strong dual-energy signal. In one patient, both implants were intact, while a rupture was identified in the other patient. Ultrasound, MRI, surgical findings and histology confirmed the dual-energy CT diagnosis.


Dual-energy CT may serve as an alternative technique for speedy evaluation of silicone breast implants. Specific clinical studies are required to determine the diagnostic accuracy and define indications for this technique.

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