What Almost Every Breast Implant Patient Forgets - Part 2

Sientra Device Identification and Warranty Card

I posted a blog recently entitled "What Every Breast Implant Patient Forgets" about routine recommended MRI surveillance following silicone breast augmentation.  If you have silicone breast implants and that makes you say "Huh?", check it out.  But there is another common issue I see that deserves the same title, hence... Part 2.

After you get your breast implant surgery, you will get a small card with your implant information on it.  It's important, keep it!  Do you have a personal or family medical file? Put it there (don't keep it in your wallet or purse, where it might get lost or stolen).  It's small and easily lost or misplaced, so maybe tape it to a normal sized piece of paper in the file, or to the file folder itself. And before you do, take a photo of both sides - now you have an electronic version of it too.  It will make everyone's life easier if you have it in case you need to get warranty information or have your implants replaced or changed. And remember to bring it to your consult!

When I see a patient who had implant surgery years ago, by me or someone else, I really want to know about the implant type and size.  Most people do not have a clear memory of the size from years prior.  When I ask, I often get something like "Well I think he put in 'D' implants". Cup sizes are not helpful, as a plastic surgeon I want to know how many CCs of volume, including nominal and fill volumes on saline implants.  The card has all the information I need.  Operative reports are OK, and they usually have that info, but frankly have more info than I need.  Rarely is it important in my line of work to read a prior operative report in detail.  Now let's say I was a general surgeon who was about to operate on someone's intestines who had previous surgeries that removed some of the intestines. Reading previous operative reports in detail would be very valuable information!  But in plastic surgery, not so much.

I had a patient from out of state contact the office recently wanting her breast implant operative record from 12 years ago.  She wasn't happy when we told her that her record was gone - shredded.  Unless you are an ongoing patient, don't count on your doctor keeping paper medical records from over 10 years ago.  The office fills up with charts, then the storage unit gets filled, then off to the shredder they go! We went to an electronic medical record 3 years ago, so theoretically your records will easily be maintained indefinitely.  However there are other issues with electronic medical records, with which I could easily fill another lengthy blog post.  

Your medical record is yours, although if you want more than a report or two the office may charge you a modest copying fee.  Paper charts can get misfiled, lost in a flood, or shredded after ten years. Electronic records might be easier to get and should be around forever (which is a bit creepy IMO), but.. things happen.  So my advice is take control of what's important in your medical record, and keep it safe.  For breast augmentation, it's just that little card.


Douglas J. Mackenzie, MD

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