Mammograms and Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation continues to be one of the most popular cosmetic procedures for American women, while breast cancer continues to be one of their most dire health threats. One of the foremost screening procedures for the early detection of breast cancer is mammogram testing, which can be confusing for women with implants who have not been counseled by their primary care physicians. If you have had breast augmentation surgery and are approaching the age for mammogram screening, there are some things you should know about the procedure and how your implants may affect the test.

Research has shown that breast implants can obscure images of a a tumor during a mammogram and may interfere with the detection of breast cancer. This means there is the potential for a delayed diagnosis, but there are also methods of performing a mammogram for women with implants which can minimize the risk of interference.

Another particular risk for women with breast implants undergoing mammogram testing relates to possible ruptures, or an inability to perform the test at all due to capsular contracture or pain and soreness during the test. Women with implants may also avoid mammogram testing due to their fears regarding rupture. It’s important to remember the FDA’s official stance on breast implants is that all of them will break eventually. In fact, recent research shows that the majority of women who have implants for more than ten years will experience at least one breakage, and the risk of rupture increases with the age of implants.

If you have breast implants, it’s important you don’t delay or avoid mammogram screening in order to protect the integrity of the implants. It’s equally important to let your technician know you have breast implants, so the test can be administered accordingly. If you have questions or concerns about the impact of your implants on a mammogram test, contact your physician or an imaging facility to discuss those concerns.

Posted on behalf of Diagnostic Radiology