One of the most common concerns I hear from breast augmentation patients at my New Jersey practice is whether breast implants interfere with accurate mammograms. Saline and silicone implants can indeed affect traditional mammograms, but radiology technicians can use simple techniques to ensure they still complete a comprehensive test that prioritizes your health and safety. Most radiology facilities are experienced in performing mammograms for women with implants and adjust the exam to ensure they get a better view of breast tissue.
If you’re considering breast implants or already have them, here are some tips to keep in mind when going in for a mammogram:
- Find a mammography facility that has experience with women with implants. These days, that isn’t too difficult because so many women have breast implants. The mammography experience is slightly different for patients with implants because the technician will get more views of the breast than for patients who don’t have implants. When your primary care physician or OB/GYN schedules your next screening, be sure to ask about the center and whether the technicians there have the experience you need.
- Tell the facility and your technician in particular about your implants. It’s helpful to know the details about the implants, as well, so bring in information about the placement, size, and shape of the implants. Even though you may have mentioned that you have implants when you scheduled the appointment, make sure you remind the technician again when you arrive.
- Contact your doctor if you see changes on your own. Making the decision to get breast implants also means committing to a certain level of proactive vigilance about your breast health. You should already be monitoring your body to understand how your implants are acclimating, so keep an eye out for any changes in appearance or feeling. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor if you detect anything. The doctor can then evaluate you and discuss your concerns with the radiologist to determine whether additional imaging is necessary.
From my perspective as a surgeon, implant placement is a factor when it comes to mammography. Implants placed below the pectoral muscle are less likely to interfere with a clear view of breast tissue than implants placed above the muscle. I believe in educating my patients about all aspects of breast enhancement surgery and that includes special considerations involving mammograms. I always make a point to discuss breast health during consultations, and in some cases I require patients to have screenings such as mammograms prior to their cosmetic procedures.
These are important considerations for both patients and surgeons to keep in mind, but concerns about mammography screening shouldn’t deter patients from pursuing the cosmetic enhancements they desire. As with many issues, the experience of a board-certified plastic surgeon can make a world of difference. Highly credentialed surgeons like myself make every effort to prioritize your health and safety, so you can focus instead on the excitement that comes with great results.