Breast Implants Cancer Screening?

How are cancer screenings/mammograms done with breast implants?

Doctor Answers 6

Breast implants and cancer screening

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Breast implants do not interfere with self-examination or physical examination by your physician in checking for palpable breast lumps, as all of your breast tissue lies above the implant. Implants do not interfere with ultrasound or MRI examination of the breast.  Implants do make standard screening mammograms a little more difficult, as the image of the implant does block the view of some breast tissue on a standard view.  Most radiologists feel that they can obtain satisfactory mammograms in breast implant patients by taking additional views that displace the breast tissue away from the implant.  Many radiologists feel that visualizing breast tissue during mammograms is easier in patient's whose implants are under the pectoralis muscle, while some radiologists feel that it does not make that much difference.  There is no higher incidence of breast cancer in breast implant patients.

Mammograms are ok

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Mammograms are important and there is no change in recommendations following a Breast lift with or without a breast augmentation with implants.

Cancer detection

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Implants can interfere with a mammogram. The new digital mammograms are better than the older style mammograms. If the radiologist can not fully visualize your breast they may need to go to a MRI or ultrasound. One thing to know is that there is not an increased risk of the late detection of breast cancer due to implants. If there is any question your general surgeon should be consulted prior to considering implant surgery.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Breast implants cancer screening.

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Hello!  Thank you for your question!  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.  Rupture of implants with mammogram are highly unlikely.
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, with breast procedures.  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.  I typically recommend a preoperative mammogram prior to breast surgery, since the architecture of the breast will 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!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Breast Cancer Screening After Implants

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Since the implant is entirely behind the breast tissue, they do not interfere with examination. They do, however, require that you change Mammography method. Screening mammograms use only 2 views and can miss problems with implants present. Therefore, you need a Diagnostic Mammogram, one with at least 3 views. Extensive studies have shown that with this one change, the chance of finding breast cancer at the same stage and with the same chance of survival and cure is identical between women with and without breast implants. MRI and Ultrasound is unchanged by the implants.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Breast Cancer Screening With Implants

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Both saline and silicone implants interfere with mammograms to some extent.  Experienced mammographers will attempt to displace the implants posteriorly to better visualize breast tissue (this is somewhat easier with implants placed behind or underneath the muscle.  Severe capsular contracture could also interfere with self-examination.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

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.