Do I Need a Mammogram After a Bilateral Mastectomy?
A bilateral mastectomy is a surgery that removes both breasts. It can be done either to remove cancerous tissue or as a preventative measure in women who have had genetic screening and have a high risk of developing breast cancer. Whether or not you will still need to have mammograms after a bilateral mastectomy will depend on the amount of breast tissue left behind.
If you had a bilateral mastectomy, you most likely will not need further mammograms, since all of the breast tissue has been removed, even if you had breast reconstruction surgery. While it is possible to develop tumors in the chest wall or even in the skin, those can be detected through a physical exam. If a concerning lump is discovered in the reconstructed breast, a mammogram may be used as a diagnostic tool in conjunction with an ultrasound and MRI.
A subcutaneous mastectomy is a mastectomy that is performed to remove most of the breast tissue but still preserve some of the breast tissue, including the nipple. In the case of a bilateral subcutaneous mastectomy, annual mammograms would still be necessary to screen for cancer in the remaining breast tissue.
The only way you can know with certainty if yearly mammograms are still necessary is to discuss it with your physician. For most women who have had a bilateral mastectomy, annual mammograms will not be needed. But if you have any remaining breast tissue, a mammogram is still the single best tool to find breast cancer at its earliest stages — long before you or your doctor can feel a lump.
Having regular 3D mammograms performed by an experienced board-certified breast imaging specialist is the best way to detect abnormalities early. If you do require annual mammograms, we invite you to visit PURE Mammography on Long Island today. There is no appointment necessary; you can simply stop in at your convenience. You can also call 631-652-3424 or fill out the form on this page to learn more about PURE or to pre-schedule an appointment.