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Do Breast Implants Interfere with Mammograms?

Written by Dr. Sean Maguire on May 23, 2015

Dr. Sean Maguire’s Louisville breast augmentation patients generally ask thoughtful questions during the plastic surgery consultation. A question that commonly comes up is whether breast implants interfere with mammograms. Dr. Maguire is candid about the importance of mammograms and the obstacles that implants present.

What You Need to Know

Mammograms — X-rays of the breast tissue — are critical to identifying breast cancer, especially in the absence of other signs or symptoms. Early detection increases the chances of successful treatment, and studies have shown that screening mammograms can reduce the number of breast cancer-related deaths.

Women are encouraged to schedule mammograms annually, or every two years, depending on the source. The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force encourages women with an average risk of cancer to schedule mammograms every two years, starting at age 50. The American Cancer Society, Mayo Clinic and other health organizations believe screening should occur annually, starting at age 40. Women at an increased risk of developing cancer are encouraged to start screening earlier.

This is a personal choice, and it is up to you and your primary physician to determine when and how often to schedule mammograms.

Breast implants do pose a special challenge during mammograms. It is harder for the X-ray to go through the saline or silicone implants to look at the surrounding breast tissue.

However, this should not prevent anyone with implants from scheduling regular mammograms. Most radiography facilities are prepared to accommodate this special circumstance, and have worked with many women that have augmented breasts.

Mammogram Tips for Women with Implants

First, find a facility that has experience screening women with implants; our office can make recommendations, if needed. When you call the clinic to schedule your mammogram, notify the staff that you have breast implants. This helps them properly prepare for your appointment. Remind the staff when you arrive for your appointment.

During your mammogram, the technician will take a few extra photos of your breasts. Other modifications may be made to obtain a better view of your breast tissue.

If you have had breast implants placed for reconstructive purposes after breast cancer, you may or may not need routine mammograms. Your oncology team can make personalized recommendations based on your specific medical history and healthcare needs.

Contact Physician’s Center for Beauty

If you have questions about breast implants, or would like a list of radiography facilities that have worked with women with implants, please contact Physician’s Center for Beauty. Call (502) 897-7546 to speak with a member of our team today.

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