Can Breast Cancer Self-exams be Performed if Someone Has Breast Implants?

Doctor Answers 19


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In fact, the implants push the breast tissue forward and can make it easier to detect a breast mass.  Make sure your doctor teaches you the right technique.  Also, look at the American Cancer Society web site.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Cancer detection

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Implants can interfere with a mammogram. Self examination is not effected.  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.

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

Can I do breast cancer self exams if I have breast implants.

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Hello!  Thank you for your question!  This a great question, which is often asked by patients.  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.  

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).  Annual follow-up is still recommended.  Oftentimes it is even easier to detect masses and suspicious lesions as the breast tissue is pushed forward due to the implant beneath.  Best wishes!  Hope that this helps!

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

Regular Breast Self Examination after Breast Implants is Imperative !

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Yes, you should do breast cancer self-exams after having breast implants.

I feel strongly that patients regularly examine their breasts (at least once a month) after breast enlargements.

This is especially true in our population of augmented patients over the age of 35. Seek out professional care and evaluation if you feel any changes (mass or thickening) upon self examination. We inform our patients that most but not all lumps that are new are benign.  You may need a mammogram as well as a physician's breast exam to evaluate changes.... Discuss regular mammogram screening recommendations with your physician. The lifetime risk for a breast cancer is about 1 in 8 women.

If you have a gel implant and you suspect a rupture of the implant, you may need a MRI to fully evaluate your breast problem. Since the FDA has allowed the new silicone gel implants to be used for elective breast enlargements, I have not, yet, seen a gel implant rupture in our practice.

Best Regards



Douglas J. Raskin, MD
Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Breast exams may actually be easier after breast augmentation

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Although breast implants may interfere with mammography, they may actually make breast exams easier. Rather than feeling your ribs and your chest wall muscles, you are pushing your breasts against a uniform, smooth surface, making any breast lumps easier to feel.

I recommend that all women with implants spend a few minutes weekly doing implant displacement exercises to prevent/detect capsular contracture. This gives ample opportunity to do breast self-exams monthly.

Ronald Friedman, MD
Plano Plastic Surgeon

Breast Cancer Exam After Implants

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Absolutely!  Once you are completely healed from your surgery, you should continue with your monthly breast examinations.  The implants will not interfere with this in any way, and actually can make it easier to detect small things that you might not have felt without the implants in place.  The data on breast cancer in women with and without implants is the same - there is no change in detection rate, age, etc. between the two groups.

Breast Self Exams After Augmentation

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My simple answer - ABSOLUTELY.   My staff and I review with all our patients how to perform a standard Breast Self Exam (BSE).    We recommend routine  annual breast cancer screening imaging (mammograms).  

Breast exam with implants

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You can do self-breast exams with implants. The implant will push the breast forward and may make it easier for you to detect changes in the breast tissue. It is important to inform your doctor and mammographer that you have breast implants because they need to do special views (known as Eklund or implant displacement views) to improve the visualization of the breast tissue around the implant.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

You can and should do breast cancer self-screenings if you have implants

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Women with breast implants can still perform breast self-exam screenings. And they should. Although this is currently a controversial subject, my personal feeling is that every woman should examine their breasts for lumps on a regular basis.

Interestingly, there is a Canadian study of women with breast implants and it found that lumps were actually found at a smaller size in these women. Does this mean that all women should get implants so that they can better detect cancer? No. But is should provide some reassurance that they implants will not get in the way.

On a different note, if you do have breast implants and are getting a mammogram, inform the technician because a modified view of your breasts will need to be performed to fully visualize your breast tissue.

I hope that helps!

You SHOULD do Breast Self Examinations REGARDLESS of having or not having had Breast Implants

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It takes breast cancer an estimated year to go from a single cell to a pea size - the earliest palpable size felt by a finger. A small breast cancer is curable. It therefore is VERY important for EVERY WOMAN to do breast self examinations daily. This will often provide the earliest finding of a trouble spot. This method is NOT always reliable and should be supplemented by mammograms and MRI.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis 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.