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 22
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.
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.
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 may obscure a portion of the breast during imaging studies, but still nearly 98% of the breast tissue. 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!
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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,
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.
Mammogram after breast implants
Dhaval M. Patel
Double board certified
Mammograms are OK
Mammograms are important even after having breast implants
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.