Should I get a mammogram pre-breast augmentation if I have a family history of breast cancer?

Hi, I have a pretty strong family history of breast cancer (both mother & maternal grandmother had it, and diagnosed in 40s and early 60s respectively). A plastic surgeon I consulted with recommended that I get a mammogram done before the procedure so that in the future doctors could more easily compare my natural breast tissue. Do breast implants complicate mammograms? Would a pre-op mammogram be a good idea (I am only 27 years old now, so do not need to get one quite yet otherwise).

Doctor Answers 9

Should I get a mammogram pre-breast augmentation if I have a family history of breast cancer?

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Recommendations for mammography prior to surgery will vary from one practice to another.

I would suggest you follow the radiologists' recommendation in regard to mammography. Assuming you are  40 years of age or older mammogram prior to surgery will be helpful. If you are younger than 40,  then it may or may not be indicated depending on your specic situation (personal/family history of breast cancer and/or  specific concerns on physical examination).  If in doubt, your primary care and/or Gyn physician's  recommendations will be helpful.  I hope this helps.

Mammogram before breast augmentation

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Given your strong family history, I would recommend a mammogram prior to surgery.  When you schedule mammograms in the future, advise them you have implants.  

Family history and mammogram

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Many surgeons will recommend preop mammograms in patients at high risk.  This is pretty common to be  a baseline for future mammograms.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

A mammogram in anticipation of a breast augmentation is probably a good idea with a strong family history of breast cancer.

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With a strong family history even at your young age the mammogram is probably a good idea. Mammograms are just as accurate with implants in place but are more problematic often times demanding more views.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Mammograms and Breast Augmentation

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Its not a bad idea to get a baseline mammogram with your family history of breast cancer.  That being said, 70% of women who get breast cancer have no identified risks.  Nipple aspirate pap smears using the Halo machine is the best predictor but is not widely available in the US.

It is more challenging to do a mammograms (which by the way are only 66% accurate) after breast augmentation.  Extra views called the Ekland views may be needed to show more of your breast tissue but a little less of your breast tissue will show on the mammogram regardless.

Be sure to tell the technician that you have breast implants after your surgery.  She will know how to handle your mammogram exam in order to get the best results.

Deborah Ekstrom, MD
Worcester Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Mammogram prior to Breast Augmentation

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Dear kp16,

All surgeon's have different protocols regarding pre operative mammograms, so I would listen to whatever recommendation your's has made. Given your family history, I agree that it would be a good idea to have one before your surgery.  The surgeon may also want to know if you have had BRCA testing, because of your family history. Implants don't necessarily complicate mammograms, but it is important to let the technician know prior if you have them. Best of luck!

Mammogram Timing

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Thank you for your question. Yes, I would advise getting a mammogram prior to your procedure. This will serve as a good baseline for you - also, given your strong family history, you may want to consult with an oncologist to see if you should be tested for the BRCA gene - if you have either the BRCA1 or 2, you can have an increased risk of developing breast cancer during your lifetime (compared to the general public). If you do have this gene, then you will need additional screening imaging, like MRIs. Mammograms can be easily performed in patients who have implants - there are additional views that are recommended. You simply let the tech know you have implants prior to your mammogram and he or she will take the additional views. Best of luck! 

Anthony J. Taglienti, MD
Norristown Plastic Surgeon

Mammogram pre-augmentation

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Dear kp
Mammograms use density difference between fat and other tissues to help find unusual lesions. In general, since your breasts have high density at 27, mammograms have little to add to an examination. If you have high risk for breast cancer you should consider genetic testing prior to surgery. Your primary care physician as well as your plastic surgeon are good sources for information.

Afshin Parhiscar, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews


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In the majority of cases mammograms are required with a breast lift.  Implants are placed under the breast tissue which helps push your breast out for a better reading of the mammogram.  If you surgeon is recommending a mammogram prior to your breast augmentation, then by all means have one.  He is looking out for your best interest.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 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.