Can I Get a Mammogram If I Have Breast Implants?
By now most women understand that getting a yearly mammogram plays a vital role in taking care of their overall health. Mammography is the single most effective tool in the early detection of breast cancer. Finding small abnormalities early, before they can be seen or felt by a doctor, leads to less invasive cancer treatments and better survival rates. However, if you have breast implants, you may be concerned that you aren’t a candidate for mammography. That’s just not the case. Although breast implants do affect how a mammogram is performed, women with breast implants should still take advantage of this important breast cancer screening test.
How Do Breast Implants Interfere with Mammograms?
Breast implants, which are made of silicone or saline, hide some areas of breast tissue, making it difficult for a mammogram to record images of the entire breast where cancer could be present. However, studies show that mammograms are still an effective tool in detecting breast cancer in women with breast implants.
Placement of the breast implants also plays a role. Implants placed above the chest muscles obscure more breast tissue, while those placed below the muscle wall are less likely to interfere with mammogram imaging.
How Do Mammograms Differ for Women with Breast Implants?
Because the x-rays used in mammography can’t penetrate silicone or saline breast implants, radiologists use a specialized imaging method if you have breast implants. Breast implants obscure anywhere from 15-50% of natural breast tissue, so alternative imaging protocols are a must. During a regular mammogram, a technologist compresses the breast between two plastic paddles to flatten it out for optimal imaging. The x-ray machine takes two images before the process repeats for the other breast.
If you have breast implants, you’ll receive the four standard images in addition to four additional images called implant displacement views. For these additional images, the radiologist pushes the implant against the chest wall while pulling the natural breast tissue forward. This technique allows for more accurate imaging of the front of the breast.
What Can I Do to Make My Mammogram Successful?
Take the following steps before your next mammogram if you have breast implants:
- Ask your primary physician for a referral to mammography centers that perform a large number of mammograms on women with breast implants
- Call the mammography center ahead of time to ensure they take implant displacement views.
- Let your facility know before your appointment that you have breast implants and remind them immediately before the screening begins
- Take a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen prior to your screening to minimize discomfort during the screening
- Inform your doctor immediately if you suspect there are changes to your breast tissue so that your doctor can assess your case and refer you for additional testing if necessary
Where Can I Get a Mammogram on Long Island?
At PURE Mammography, our highly trained radiologists and technicians specialize in performing mammograms on women with breast implants. We use state-of-the-art 3D mammography techniques for the most accurate imaging possible. We understand that if you have breast implants, you may be worried about pain during your screening. Rest assured that our compassionate staff will take care of you every step of the way during your mammogram so that you get the most accurate results with as little discomfort as possible.
Stop by PURE Mammography today in Lake Grove for your mammogram or contact us at 631-652-3424 for an appointment. Our mammography center offers plush amenities and a soothing atmosphere for your comfort.