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Do Breast Implants Interfere With Mammograms?

Jacky Gale | January 6, 2021 | Posted in Breast Augmentation
breast augmentation mammogram results

Breast cancer is more successfully and less invasively treated when it’s detected as early as possible, and mammograms are an essential tool in early detection. Although breast implants do not cause breast cancer, they can interfere with medical imaging. However, steps can be taken by the x-ray technologist to work around this issue. In fact, having a mammogram after undergoing breast augmentation surgery will only be slightly different.

How do breast implants affect mammograms?

Some implants are made from a silicone gel, while others are filled with a sterile saline solution. Both types of implants can make mammograms a bit trickier. Silicone and saline can both obstruct the view of the medical equipment that captures the images, meaning that it will be difficult to see whether there are any abnormal changes of the breast tissue behind the implant.

The positioning of the implant can play a role as well. The plastic surgeon may place implants behind or in front of the pectoral muscle. You’ll have a conversation with your surgeon about which technique is best suited to your particular situation. If the implants are placed in front of the muscle, they will interfere with the view of the muscle and the tissue behind the muscle. Implants that are placed under the pectoral muscle are less likely to obstruct the view.

How to prepare for mammograms after breast augmentation surgery

It’s important for all women to undergo mammograms on the schedule recommended by their primary care physicians. Although medical imaging with implants is trickier, it’s still possible to get a clear image, and mammograms are still one of the best tools for detecting breast cancer early.

There are two crucial things you need to do when having a mammogram after having undergone breast augmentation surgery. The first is to find a medical imaging center with technologists who are skilled and experienced in working with women who have breast implants. By visiting an experienced x-ray technologist, you can increase the likelihood of having a successful mammogram.

The second step to take is to inform the technologist about your implants well in advance. When you schedule your mammogram appointment, be sure to tell the receptionist to include a note about your breast implants in your record. You can also make a request to be seen by a technologist who has experience working with patients with implants.

When you arrive for your appointment, remind the technologist that you have implants.

Other issues to know about implants and mammograms

Women with implants should know that they may require more images than women without implants. If the implants are placed in front of the pectoral muscle, it will be necessary for the technologist to push the implant aside, compress the breasts, and then take the images. And in some cases, patients may require a breast ultrasound or MRI in addition to the x-rays.

Schedule a consult for breast implants in NYC

Everyone has a unique health profile and unique goals for their appearance. To find out whether breast implants are right for you, you can schedule a confidential, one-on-one consultation with a world-renowned plastic surgeon in Manhattan. Dr. Thomas Loeb is a board-certified surgeon with a wealth of expertise in performing breast augmentation in NYC. Call our office to schedule a consult today. Virtual consultations are available for out-of-town patients and to accommodate social distancing measures.

Additional resources on breast implants:

  • Mayo Clinic, Mammogram Guidelines: What Are They?
  • American Cancer Society, Mammograms for Women with Breast Implants,
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