More women are having plastic surgery than ever, with many choosing to have breast augmentation or a breast lift with their mommy makeover. You may have heard that women who have breast implants from these procedures need to consider more factors when they have a mammogram.
Below is more information about mammograms with implants so you can decide if breast augmentation is the right choice for you.
Implants Can Affect Mammogram Imaging
One thing to remember is that silicone or saline implants can interfere with the mammogram’s ability to image all breast tissue.
This means if you have a malignant or non-malignant breast tumor, the X-rays used in a mammogram will not show the breast tissue under the implant. So, part of the breast tissue will not be shown during the test.
Your board-certified plastic surgeon may put your implants in front of or behind the chest muscle. However, doing a mammogram of the breast with an implant in front of the chest muscle can be more difficult; the implant needs to be moved to provide the best view of all breast tissue during the test.
Because of these complicating factors, your mammography professional must have experience working with breast implants. So, talk to your doctor when you have a mammogram to ensure that you have a skilled technician to obtain the best possible imaging results.
Breast Cancer Risk Isn’t Higher With Implants
Despite what you may hear, the chances of breast cancer don’t increase if you have implants. The most significant predictors of getting breast cancer are age and family history.
Also, clinical studies show that saline and silicone breast implants don’t cause breast cancer. However, the FDA has reported a small increased risk for anaplastic large cell lymphoma in women with a certain type of silicone implants. The increased risk is small, and your chances of getting any kind of cancer because you have implants are remote.
But you should remember that breast implants can interfere with mammogram imaging in some situations, so make sure that you are using a skilled professional for your mammogram. If a good image is difficult, your healthcare professional can recommend other imaging options to check for breast cancer.
Continue With Annual Mammograms After 40
Whether or not you have breast implants, doctors recommend having annual mammograms to check for health issues after age 40.
There have been some conflicting recommendations about when to have mammograms over the years, but age 40 is the current recommendation for those with and without breast implants.
However, experts say that you should have mammograms annually before 40 if you have a family history of breast cancer. People who have a family history have a higher risk for this cancer that rises as you age. This is an easy examination to have every year and can save lives.
Mammograms Don’t Damage Breast Implants
Some women are concerned that the compression during a mammogram will damage the implant. But doctors point out there are specific views during a mammogram where the tech can push the breast implant out of the way and then compress the breast to get the best picture.
If your implant doesn’t move enough to do a proper mammogram image, you may need an MRI or ultrasound to check for breast cancer.
3D Mammogram Is Best
A regular 2D mammogram provides four breast images, but a 3D test divides each image into small slices that give a 3D image of both breasts. All of this is done in mere seconds, and your technologist will have dozens of photos to check to ensure you don’t have tumors.
Having more images for review is especially important for women with more dense breast tissue.
So, whether or not you have implants, a 3D mammogram is the best option. You may have heard from some sources that a 2D image is best for women with implants, but this isn’t true.
Don’t Avoid Mammograms Because You Have Implants
It’s important to have mammograms annually after age 40 to check for breast cancer, so don’t avoid the scans because you have implants.
As noted above, many skilled mammography technologists can scan your breasts effectively with a mammogram. If not, there are other imaging options available.
The chances of breast cancer rise with age, so always have your scans done according to your doctor’s recommendations.
When you call your doctor to have your mammogram, remember to say that you have implants so your healthcare professional can provide the care you need.
Request a Houston Breast Augmentation Consultation
Interested in breast augmentation in Houston? Please set up a consultation with Dr. Ashley Steinberg today. She’ll talk to you about the benefits and risks of the procedure to determine if you’re a good candidate for breast augmentation.
Mammograms For Women With Breast Implants. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/mammograms/mammograms-for-women-with-breast-implants.html.
6 Questions To Ask About Breast Implants and Mammograms. (n.d.). Accessed at https://rayusradiology.com/blog/6-questions-to-ask-about-breast-implants-and-mammograms/