According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, except for skin cancers. Breast cancer is about 30% (or 1 in 3) of all new female cancers each year. Due to these alarming rates, the American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women between the ages of 45 to 54.
Whether you currently have or are considering implants, breast cancer and whether implants alter mammograms are legitimate and important concerns. Read on to learn more about how a breast augmentation is going to affect your mammograms.
Will My Breast Implants Cause Breast Cancer?
According to Komen, breast implants to not appear to be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. In fact, a meta-analysis that combined the results from 10 studies found no increase in breast cancer risk among women with breast implants. There is no correlation between breast cancer and the implant type such as saline or silicone, nor the age you received your implants.
Whether you have breast implants or not, your likelihood of getting cancer depends largely on three factors:
- Your history of breast cancer: If you’ve previously had breast cancer and have been treated or are now being treated
- Your family history of breast cancer: If the women in your family have had breast cancer
- Your age: If you’re middle-aged
Patients who fall into any of these categories are more likely at risk of getting breast cancer due to genetics. However, it is important to note that those who do not fall into these categories are not excluded from any risk, it just isn’t as common.
How Should I Prepare for My Mammogram If I Have Implants?
It is important for all women, whether they have implants or not, to be breast aware. All women are advised to undergo routine mammograms, especially after the age of 40. The FDA encourages women, whether you have had a breast augmentation or not, to get a mammogram every 2 years.
Before Your Appointment
Women with implants should let their screening service know they have implants before attending breast-screening appointments. When scheduling an appointment, make sure to tell the staff that you have implants so they can prepare ahead of time.
You should schedule your mammogram with a radiologist that has experience with performing the procedure for women with implants. Implants can sometimes make it harder to see breast tissue during the screening. If you have implants, you may wish to take additional x-ray images from different angles to be sure that all the breast tissue is completely examined.
Ask your radiologist what technology they use for mammograms; 2D or 3D. While traditional 2D mammograms are good – 3D is better. This is especially true for women with breast implants. With a 3D implant, more photos are taken in rapid succession allowing your technician a broader vantage point to spot abnormalities.
During Your Mammogram Appointment
Although you’ve already told your technician that you have implants when scheduling your appointment, you should do it again. Your radiologist will benefit from knowing more about your augmentation! Implants are durable and are made to withstand mammograms, however, ruptures do rarely occur.
During a mammogram, the breast is pushed, compressed, and pulled into many positions and directions to get the best images possible. When an implant is involved, it’s natural to wonder if it will be compromised during your visit. In most cases, it won’t.
If your mammographer knows that you have implants, you will receive an implant-displacement mammogram. This will guide your implant to your chest wall and pull your breast tissue over the wall, ensuring the implant is unharmed while generating a proper view of the tissue.
While it’s obvious if a saline implant ruptures, it may not be so noticeable for silicone varieties. If you have silicone implants, your radiologist can look for a silent rupture in the mammogram results.
If your mammogram mentions a rupture or you suspect that your implant may have ruptured, you should go to your plastic surgeon immediately. They will know the best medical review practice to prescribe, such as an ultrasound or MRI exam. These will be used to evaluate if, in fact, the implant has ruptured.
Be Breast Aware
Understand that during a mammogram, your implants’ risk of rupture is very slight while the benefits of detecting breast cancer early are very great. So don’t put it off, take the small risk of rupture over the large risk of late detection!
If you’ve noticed any changes to breast tissue or the implants themselves, you should immediately notify your physician. They’ll examine your concerns before deciding if additional imaging is necessary. When an abnormality is potentially present, your technician may recommend an MRI or ultrasound to uncover the problem.
Whether you have questions about replacing breast implants, or are ready to move forward with your breast augmentation procedure, Synergy Plastic Surgery is equipped with a state-of-the-art surgery center, knowledgeable and experienced medical staff, and board certified plastic surgeons to help you feel your best and reach your aesthetic goals! Call (512) 244-1444 to schedule your complimentary consultation today!