Summary: Generally, women between the ages of 50 (some sources say 40) and 74 are urged to get a mammogram every two years. This may be more or less frequent depending on your family or personal medical history and your risk of breast cancer. But it’s a safe bet that many women who have breast implants or who have undergone breast augmentation will need a mammogram. Luckily, the procedure, even with an implant, is perfectly safe.
Is it Safe?
One of the commonly asked questions regarding breast augmentation is whether the implants will interfere with your ability to have a mammogram. As we all know, mammograms are recommended in order to screen for early stages of breast cancer, and they’re particularly important for high risk women or women between the ages of 50-74 (though some sources say this should begin as early as 40). The procedure works by compressing the breast and using low level x-rays to scan for lumps, masses, or growths.
The safety of this procedure seems like a natural concern. With the breast under such a large amount of force, couldn’t the implant rupture or leak? Modern breast implants, however, are designed to withstand a tremendous amount of force. In fact, a mammogram will put your tissue under 32lbs of force, where a modern implant is designed to withstand 1200lbs of force. According to Minneapolis breast augmentation experts at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, “mammography can still be done successfully in women who have undergone breast enlargement surgery.”
Indeed, even if the implant ruptures, silicone implants will generally be asymptomatic. That is, you won’t feel a thing, and the implant will continue to function properly. If you do, however, feel pain, you may need to have an MRI and follow-up procedures to replace the ruptured implant. But what won’t happen with modern silicone implants is the kind of deflated breast that you used to hear about. That’s just not how they’re designed anymore.
While mammography with breast implants is perfectly safe, it might be slightly less accurate than a typical mammogram. There are a few things you can do to make sure you still get a good reading.
- Talk to your doctor: This is easily the most important thing you should do. Your doctor should know about all medical devices you are using and your surgical history.
- Inform the mammogram technician: The technician performing the mammogram should also be kept in the loop concerning your implant.
- Say something if you feel intense pain: This is also pretty crucial.
- Request a technician or a clinic that specializes, or has experience with, patients who have breast implants.
- If your preferred doctor does not have a procedure in place for women with breast implants, request a referral to a doctor or facility that does.
Getting regular mammograms are an important part of your long-term health. And while your breast implant may make the procedure a little more challenging, it’s still a must when it comes to ensuring early detection.
It’s true that breast augmentation procedures can sometimes come with a few complications, but most women agree it’s well worth it. The best way to find out if it’s right for you is to talk with your breast augmentation surgeon today.