Can I have a mammogram if I have breast implants?
Some women are afraid to undergo mammography if they have breast implants for fear of rupture of the implant. The need to undergo mammography will depend on their doctor’s recommendations and on whether the implant is part of the reconstructive surgery for breast cancer.
In some countries like the USA where there is a large scale screening programme, women with implants are recommended to continue to have mammograms regularly as long as they are in the right age group.
Breast implants after breast cancer surgery
If there has been reconstruction after breast cancer surgery, the need to have a mammogram on the side of the implant will depend on the type of cancer surgery that was done. You will have to ask your doctor if it is necessary to have a mammogram. Normally if the reconstruction was done after total mastectomy, surveillance mammography is not done on the side of the reconstruction. The opposite “normal” breast continues to have surveillance mammography.
What to do before the mammogram?
The woman must inform the mammographer before the procedure begins.
Silicone implants are not transparent and will block a clear view of the tissue behind them, especially if it was placed in front of and not behind the chest wall muscles.
Experienced mammographers and radiologists will know how to take special care when compressing the breasts to avoid danger of rupturing the implant. Special techniques are employed to detect abnormalities, such as sliding the implant backwards against the chest wall, pulling the breast tissue over and in front of it. Interpretation is more difficult, especially if there is scar tissue around the implant or silicone has leaked into the nearby breast tissues. The accuracy and the ability of the mammogram to pick up abnormalities will naturally be reduced because a portion of the breast tissue is hidden behind the implant.
Can Save Your
Breast implants do not prevent you from having a mammogram. However, you should know that the ability of the mammogram to pick up cancer may be reduced as the implants "block" parts of the breast tissue and this is not visible on the mammogram.
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