With breast cancer being so common, all women over the age of 50 are encouraged to undergo a mammogram every 1-2 years. Mammogram is still the gold standard for detection of breast cancer in its infancy.
There is a shroud of mystery surrounding mammograms and breast implants.
Screening mammograms are highly indicated for most females with breast implants. The major drawback of breast implants is that they compress the breast tissue which is not visible to the mammogram, thus making the technique less effective in such patients.
Still, studies show that mammograms are an effective way to screen for breast cancer in women with breast implants.
There is no evidence that implants are preventing cancers from being detected.
For women with breast implants, the mammogram procedure may be slightly different and the images more difficult to interpret. For these reasons, you should seek the help of a radiologist experienced in such examinations.
Mammograms after breast implants are difficult to interpret because of the scar tissue around the implant and the calcium deposits which occur on the capsule.
Despite the media blitz on mammograms, it is extremely rare for the radiation from a mammogram to damage your implants.
The mammogram is usually done by squeezing the breast in-between two metal plates and in some rare cases, damage/rupture or leak of an implant can occur.
Breast implants have been used for more than 4 decades and millions of women all over the world have had the procedure. Today, there is zero evidence that breast cancer is more frequent in women with breast implants compared to women without breast implants
Because the routine mammogram has difficulty seeing all the breast tissue in women with breast implants, it is incumbent on the individual to tell the technologist that she has breast implants. The reason for this is that different x rays angles may achieve a clear view of the breast. This is lightly more uncomfortable but is essential if a mammogram is to be done correctly
In the majority of women with breast implants, the benefits of a screening mammogram far outweigh the risks of any damage from the procedure.
The majority of women with breast implants can safely have a mammogram.
All mammogram technologists are taught special techniques when it comes to dealing with breast implants.
It is highly unlikely that this compression could cause or worsen leaking of silicone or change the shape or texture of the breast, but it is possible.
Routinely mammograms can not identify problems with a breast implant but if coincidental problem is discovered you will be notified.
If you have silicone implants, it may also be recommended that you have an additional imaging exam (MRI) three years after you receive your implants and every two years thereafter to check for implant rupture.
There is a small and definite risk to the implant during a mammogram but this risk is far outweighed by the benefits of a mammogram.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends a screening mammogram every one to two years after age 40, depending on your risk.