Breast Implants and Mammograms
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I think it is appropriate, and very important, to discuss the impact of breast implants and breast augmentation on mammograms and breast cancer detection.
Breast implants do interfere slightly with the ability to visualize ALL of the breast tissue during a mammogram. Reputable breast care centers and mammography centers are very familiar with the techniques necessary to obtain the highest quality mammograms. Mammograms are still important and helpful for patients with breast implants. The likelihood of damaging the breast implants or the breast augmentation surgery during a mammogram is extremely low.
Perhaps most important is the fact that large scientific studies have documented that the outcomes for women with breast cancer are similar whether they’ve had a breast augmentation or not. The size of the tumor when first detected, the staging of the cancer (how advanced it is, and how much it might have spread), and the survival rate are comparable for women with breast implants and those without implants.
In summary, most physicians believe that breast augmentation is not excessively risky from the standpoint of cancer detection. Indeed, implants are often used to reconstruct the breasts after mastectomies for cancer, in women who are truly at higher risk. It remains important for women to perform monthly self-exams of the breasts, and to obtain annual exams from their physician, in addition to regular mammograms.