Silicon-29 (29Si) imaging was investigated as a potential imaging modality for monitoring silicone prostheses in humans. The 29Si relaxation times of several silicone gels were measured and found to average T1 = 21.2 +/- 1.5 s and T2 = 207 +/- 40 ms, with no significant difference between virgin and explanted gels. A single-shot half-Fourier rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (RARE) and a refocused gradient-echo sequence were used for acquiring 29Si images with 5 x 5 mm2 resolution and no slice selection. Three volunteers with silicone-gel-filled breast implants and one subject with an intraocular silicone oil injection were thus examined in a total acquisition time of 10-15 min per image. On all 29Si images, the shape of the silicone object was well depicted. Although at present, conventional proton images are superior in resolution and signal-to-noise ratio, 29Si imaging has the advantage of optimal specificity, since only the silicone itself is visible.

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