I know, you’re groggy, tired, and feel some pain in your chest when you’re waking up from your breast surgery. (NOTE- you actually won’t feel that much pain if you have surgery with me, since I use a pain pump in my patients, but I digress.)
While you’re in the recovery room, you’re given some breast implant warranty card that looks like a credit card. Wait, what, am I in the Matrix? Who is this blurry person handing me a card full of cryptic information? What does it all mean?!
Medical Device Information
The card you have been given contains the name of the manufacturer, model number, serial number, and volume of your breast implants. I recommend that you keep this card in a safe place, and even consider taking a picture of it with your smartphone to live forever in the iCloud/ Dropbox/ or cyrberspace back-up cloud thingy of your choice.
Breast implants are considered “medical devices.” Every medical device in the US has a tracking card or serial number- knee implants, eye lenses, and breast implants. It’s great to know specifically what you have implanted inside your body in the event of any future recalls or complications. It’s also responsible simply to know the exact breast implant model you received.
In many European countries, and some in Asia, there’s a national database of medical device implants in patients. This helps with biostatisical geeks (like myself) to do data mining and track how patients, and medical devices, perform long-term. By keeping track of your breast implant warranty card, you’re better able to make sure that your “medical device” is doing well and does not require extra follow-up.
Keep the Information on your Breast Implant Card
I have patients that come to me for revision surgery (both cosmetic and reconstructive,) who can’t remember the exact volume of their breast implants, much less the diameter, projection, shape or surface texture.
Knowing what I’m working with, and knowing what’s NOT working for the patient, is valuable information in a revision scenario, because I am able to figure out, BEFORE surgery, exactly what needs to be done in the operating room regarding a new breast implant – a wider one? Thicker one? More volume?
Even in breast reconstruction cases, knowledge of the previous breast implant helps me determine how much soft tissue or ACDM/ acellular dermal matrix I need BEFORE stepping into the operating room.
You can see how that would be valuable, right?
Warranties on Your Breast Implants
All medical devices have some kind of warranty. By knowing exactly when your procedure was, as well as all of the information regarding your breast implants, you will be able to figure out more easily what kind of manufacturer’s warranty you have left, in the unlikely event that you need it.
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