I have breast implants and am wondering if there are different mamography procedures or if a standard mamography would suffice? Can anyone advise?
Can I Get a Normal Mammogram After Breast Implants?
Doctor Answers (18)
Effective Mammograms Possible after Breast Implants
Thank you for your question.
Yes you certainly can and should have mammograms after breast implants. You will need to go to an experienced breast imaging center usually at a hospital or breast center who is experienced doing mammograms in patients with breast implants.
A specific "distraction technique" is used to displace the implant so that the breast tissue may be imaged.
Breast implants and breast cancer surveillance
Yes you can still get mammograms after breast augmentation. They can still see good results as long as the mammography center is familiar with the necessary technique modifications involved in adjustments to allow for visualization of breast tissues. You are at no additional risk for breast cancer with implants nor are you at additional risk for it going undetected. Please take some time to find the right center (and don't pick it out of convenience to your home exclusively). Best of luck in this endeavor,
There are several different imaging modalities for women with breast implants
There are several different imaging modalities for women with breast implants. Typically, radiologists begin with mammography in attempt to screen for or detect occult breast cancer lesions. When you have breast implants, be sure and tell the mammographer and your Ob/Gyn or PCP, as they may modify the imaging plan for your specific case. Women with breast implants typically get several extra imaging views in addition to the usual ones that involve pushing the implant against the chest and squishing the breast tissue between the plates. These are called Eklund views. As we all know, mammograms are a bit uncomfortable whether or not you have implants in, but in women with very little breast tissue and larger sized implants that are stretching the tissue and skin, it may be very hard to perform an adequate mammogram. For this reason, the radiologist or mammographer may order an ultrasound or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the breasts. Also, women with a family history of breast cancer may need to get an MRI in addition to other imaging, as this is becoming more and more common. The best way to assess the integrity of an implant shell on imaging is with an MRI too, so a doctor may recommend this sooner for women with breast implants who are having an implant related issue.
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Mammography and implants
There are mammography techniques that take into account the presence of breast implants. These techniques essentially push the implants away from the breast tissue so that the tissue may be imaged better and the implants are not injured. Most mammography centers use these techniques as standard method today. So, don't let your implants be an excuse for not getting a mammogram and as always seek the advice of your board certified plastic surgeon and/or your gynecologist if any question remains. Good luck.
Better than Nothing
Many patients with breast implants after breast augmentation are afraid that mammography will injure their implants. Therefore, they put off having their mammograms done at the recommended intervals, or worse, put off having a mammogram at all.
Because of the popularity of breast augmentation and the increasing percentage of women in the general population who have breast implants, newer imaging techniques have been devised to better visualize the breast while minimizing the chance of injury to the implants in the process.
Most mammography centers have modern imaging equipment, and are well-versed in these techniques. Mammography can sometimes also diagnose un-suspected problems with the implants themselves, such as silent rupture, especially when combined with other imaging methods such as ultrasound and MRI, if the nature of the suspected problem is unknown.
Most importantly, patients should not delay having mammograms on the schedule recommended by their primary doctor.
Ask your radiologist
All patients with breast implants should continue to do regular breast cancer surveillance. This includes self exams and mammography. Mammograms can be performed with various techniques including compression and displacement. You should have yours done at a large center where they visualize breast implants regularly and ask the technician which technique is best for you.
Can I get normal mammogram after breast implants?
It is known that women are more in tune with their breasts and more diligent with examination and feeling/knowing the contour of her breasts, thus able to identify any abnormality sooner. Imaging studies of the breasts are similar to imaging without breast implants and cancers are not hidden either by the presence of breast implants. It is true that with breast implants do obscure a portion of the breast during imaging studies, but with the Eklund displacement views, which should be done when having mammograms with breast implants, there is minimal change. You should remain proactive with your monthly self examination, annual clinical examination, and mammograms beginning at age 40 (unless family history, as directed by the Radiological Society), and annually thereafter. If there is anything concerning on mammogram, other imaging modalities would be utilized, including ultrasound and/or MRI. Best wishes! Hope that this helps!
Mammograms with implants
You can definitely have a mammogram after having breast implants. The machine will not damage the implants. They will automatically perform extra views of the breast to properly image the breast, just make sure you tell them that you have breast implants.
Mammogram after Breast Implants
Almost all mammography centers in 2011 are educated on the techniques to perform mammograms on women with breast implants. The technique known as the Eklund implant displacement technique has been around for many years and should be standard at all centers.
Mammography and breast implants
Mammography can still be performed with breast implants in place. Mammography technicians are trained to use specialized techniques for women with breast implants that help to image the breast tissue around the curved surface of the implants. Be sure to let the mammography provider know that you have breast implants when you schedule your mammogram.
It is not possible to obtain a mammogram by imaging through the implants, only around them. Breast implants therefore potentially do reduce a radiologist's ability to visualize breast tissue completely. This is more of a concern with implants placed immediately behind the breast ('sub-mammary', aka 'sub-glandular' position), so for that reason the sub-pectoral position is strongly preferred.
There is no conclusive evidence which shows that women with breast implants are diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage than women without implants - which one would expect if breast implants actually delayed the detection of breast cancer. Likewise, women with breast implants do not appear to have a higher mortality rate from breast cancer compared to women without breast implants. Breast implants do not obscure or interfere with patient self-examination or physician breast examination, which are at least as important as (if not more important than) mammography for breast cancer screening.
Mammography is currently the recommended mass screening test for breast cancer, but it has significant limitations due to a high number of false positives (which leads to biopsies when no cancer is actually present) and false negatives (which means a cancer is missed when it is present). The most sensitive and specific radiologic test for breast cancer is a contrast-enhanced MRI scan, which refers to an MRI that is enhanced by the administration of an intravenous 'contrast' agent. The contrast agent helps to 'light up' a breast cancer on the MRI scan when one is present. Breast implants do not interfere with breast MRI scanning in any way.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.