Have breast implants? Or thinking of getting implants? You might have a concern that a breast implant will make it hard for your doctor to detect and treat breast cancer. The great news is that having breast implants doesn’t keep you from being able to get your annual mammogram.
How breast implants affect mammogram test?
Breast implants placed above the muscle (subglandular) can potentially reduce the chances of interpreting mammogram because not all the breast tissue can be visualized.
Implants placed beneath the muscle (subpectoral) are much less likely to interfere with the radiologist's ability to interpret the mammogram. Mammograms are considered as an effective way to screen breast cancer in women with breast implants.
How does getting a mammogram with breast implants work?
Getting a mammogram screening with breast implants, differ from the regular mammogram procedure. Since the X-rays used in mammograms are not able to capture images through the implants, technologists rely on implant displacement views to see the tissue behind and around it.
Implant displacement views consist of 8 breast pictures, instead of the usual 4, which are taken while the implant is pushed back against the chest wall and the breast tissue brought forward. This may feel very uncomfortable for women with breast implants, particularly if they have a lot of scar tissue. How ever, it is the best way for capturing clear images of the breast.
How to make my mammogram successful?
If you have breast implants, you can take steps to make your mammogram more successful, such as:
- Getting familiar with your implants is the first step: After the breast implant, it’ll take a while to get used to your new breasts because they’ll have a different texture. They’ll also have new folds or dimples which may create discomfort for you during the initial period. After you get comfortable with your new breasts, you will not have any problems in noticing changes. Women with implants can sometimes even notice changes more easily than women without implants.
- Find a facility that sees many women with breast implants:
Seek the help of an expert caregiver or radiologist who has experience in performing and reading mammograms of women with breast implants. Ensure staff are experienced, when you make your appointment. You must know that the clinic obtains special mammogram views in addition to the standard mammogram images to better evaluate the breast tissue.
- Explain your medical history:
When you make your appointment, and also when you arrive at your appointment, speak up about your breast implants.
- Seek immediate medical attention if there are any abnormalities: If you have noted changes in your breast or if you have concerns, tell your doctor promptly. Your doctor will talk with the radiologist to decide whether you need additional imaging or breast ultrasound.
Whether you have implants or not, becoming aware of your breasts and go in for regular breast screening exams.