Is a Mammogram Necessary Before Breast Reduction?

Doctor Answers 11

Preoperative mammogram before breast reduction

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As you can see just about everyone is asking the same question, which is your age. My normal cut off is late 30s or certainly by 40, to insist on one. Many reductions being performed in young women would not normally require mammography unless there is some very specific history or condition. I perform only the "Scarless" and occasionally we will ask for mammography to help determine the breast density. Hope this is of some value for you.

Paramus Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction and Mammogram

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Hello Slbxo33,

Mammograms are currently coming under a lot of scrutiny in the last few years since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force came out with it's guidelines in 2009.  Based on their interpretation of scientific data so far, mammogram screening should begin at age 50, with every other year follow up in 'normal risk' women.  There has been much contentious debate on both sides between physicians of many different specialties, and it has even become a political football between Democrats and Republicans!  Regardless, many physicians have reticence to change their practice because of the medical-legal environment in this country.

I think that every woman should be properly informed about any surgical procedure and how to best prepare for it, including the possible utilization of mammograms.  I work with my prospective patient and her primary care physician to best imform her of risks, benefits, and alternatives to mammograms prior to a procedure.  In general, however, my policy is no mammogram is necessary in low breast cancer risk, premenopausal women less than 45 years of age.  This is especially true if she has very large and dense (non fatty) breasts.  An alternative for women who have a family history that is significant for breast cancer, but are younger, or have dense breasts is MRI.

Once you have been properly informed, you have a right to have a mammogram if you want or refuse.  Your refusal may mean going to another doctor though.

Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Is a mammogram necessary before breast reduction?

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Hello!  Thank you for your question!  

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 surgery.  I typically recommend a preoperative mammogram for a baseline since the breast architecture will change after the procedure.  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 therafter.  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

Mammogram before breast surgery

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I recommend a mammogram for any patient over 40 and having breast surgery . Usually the mammogram is completed within a year of having the planned breast reduction.

It is important to detect any suspicious breast abnormalities before surgery, because the breast tissue anatomy changes after having the breast reduction. And all tissue removed is sent to pathology for analysis as well. All of this should be discussed with you by the plastic surgeon.



Andrew Turk, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Mammogram before breast reduction.

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Current guidelines set by the American Cancer Society is to have a yearly mammogram starting at age 40.  These are the guidelines that I go by when recomending a mammogram before any breast surgery.  Therefore I require all patients over the age of 40 haveing breast surgery to have had a mammogram within the previous year.

M. Keith Hanna, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Mammography and breast reduction surgery

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Unfortunately, there are no absolute criteria for mammography prior to breast reduction surgery unless the patient is over 40.  The reason for having a mammogram prior to breast reduction surgery is that your breast tissue will be rearranged, and some of it send for pathologic evaluation.  It is better to know about any suspicious areas before proceeding with surgery.  If the patient is over 40, I insist on a mammogram within the year.  I generally strongly recommend a mammogram even if the patient is under 40 (especially if the patient has a family history of breast cancer), though this frequently needs to be combined with an ultrasound due to the density of breast tissue in the under 40 age group.  

B. Aviva Preminger, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Mammogram with breast surgery

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I encourage every patient to get a baseline mammogram prior to any type of breast surgery (if they wish) but I require a recent mammogram for my patients over 40 years of age.

Mammogram Before breast Reduction

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There is no absolute reason for a mammogram prior to undergoing a breast reduction.  Many younger patients (under 30-35 years of age) are not typically candidates for mammograms in general because their breast tissue is usually too dense for mammograms to be of any benefit.  Older patients who have had a negative mammogram within a year usually would not need the mammogram repeated.  Certainly an older patient who has never had a mammogram or who has not had a mammogram for a few years should have a mammogram performed prior to the reduction.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Mammograms before breast reduction

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If you are young and have no medical history or risk factors you may not need a mammogram before a breast reduction. Generally routine mammogram guidelines will apply as recommended by the the American Cancer Society. For most a mammogram before breast reduction is simply a good idea.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Mammogram before breast reduction

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It is also my policy to require a mammogram prior to any breast surgery so that the health of the breast can be determined preop.  If any other issues need to be addressed prior to surgery they can be.

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.