How Do Breast Implants over the Muscle Protect Against Cancer?

Why do some surgeons believe this (over the muscle implants) is a valid or better reason for reducing the likelihood of cancer in breasts?

Doctor Answers 18

Do implants prevent cancer?


Implants do NOT prevent cancer.  If your surgeon says that they do, be sure he is #1 a doctor, # 2, a plastic surgeon, and finally report him to someone, and get out.

No evidence to even hint that implants prevent cancer.

In fact, new evidence may actually link implants to a cancer in the scar tissue capsule (not breast cancer)!  This risk is much lower than that of say winning the lottery or getting hit by a truck.

See FDA link below.

Breast Implant Position and Breast Cancer

I would want to know who told you this. Breast implant have not been associated with an increase in breast cancer. Cancer detection with a mammogram may be impaired to some degree in any woman with breast implants. However in this case, implants under the muscle are less likely to obscure the detection of microscopic breast cancer particularly in women with advanced capsular contraction. Dr Harrell

Jon F. Harrell, DO
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

How do breast implants over the muscles protect against cancer?

Hello!  Thank you for your question!  The answer is no - there is no link to breast implants, either saline or silicone, and cancer.  All supporting literature has demonstrated this fact and no association with cancer, autoimmune disorders, or autoinflammatory disorders.  Breast prostheses themselves do not prevent against cancer either.  

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.  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).  Best wishes!  Hope that this helps!  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

For mammography, implants are better under the muscle.

Whether implants or over or under the muscle, does not cause, nor  reduce, the likelihood of breast cancer. Implants that are under the muscle are better for mammography than implants that are over the muscle.

Bernard A. Shuster, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Risk of breast cancer with implants

Breast implants, no matter how they are placed, or if they are saline or gel, do not increase the risk for breast cancer.  They also do not, in any way, decrease the risk of breast cancer.  Placing the implant under the muscle rather than above the muscle does make surveillance studies, such as mammograms, a bit more reliable.

Robert Wilke, MD
Edina Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

How Do Breast Implants over the Muscle Protect Against Cancer?

You have received some faulty information from a questionable source. Please verify this with that source. I have NEVER heard of this before!

Breast implants are not associated with breast cancer

Regardless of whether a breast implant is placed under or over the chest muscle, it does not cause breast cancer. Implants placed under the pectoral muscle (subpectoral) do make it easier to interpret mammograms. Implants placed over the muscle (subglandular) are associated with a higher incidence of capsular contracture (scar tissue formation)- this is not cancerous however.

Discuss this in detail with your plastic surgeon before having breast augmentation.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 239 reviews

Not true

Surgeons do NOT believe that breast implants over the muscle help reduce the likelihood of cancer. In fact, implants placed below the muscle make it easier to image the breast tissue on mammogram. However, neither location of implants will reduce your risk of cancer.

Anita Patel, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Do breast implants protect against breast cancer

We know that as a group, women with breast implants, over or under the muscle, have a lower breast cancer rate than women as a whole. Do the implants protect against breast cancer. The answer is no. Women with implants do indeed get breast cancer and regular self examination and recommended mammograms are very important. Over or under the muscle, with proper examination implants will not delay the diagnosis, nor affect treatment or treatment options. You can visit the American Cancer Society web site to help understand and influence your risk factors.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Breast Implants Are Not Related to Cancer Risk

Multiple scientific studies have shown that breast implants do not increase or decrease your chances of getting breast cancer.  Your risk of getting breast cancer is more related to genetic, hormonal, and dietary influences.  Women with breast implants have been shown to detect a breast cancer at an earlier stage than others and thus are more likely to have a treatable condition. The theory to explain this finding  is that women with implants are more likely to perform self exams and more likely to have regular breast screening. They may be more health conscious than the rest of the population. 

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

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.