This Article Has Been Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Jennifer Emmett, M.D.

Home Breast Enhancements How Will My Breast Implants Affect My Mammograms?

October 30, 2020

Female model for breast augmentation | emmett plastic surgeryBecause breast cancer affects American women at alarming rates (one of eight), wondering how your breast implants play a role in (and with) breast cancer is a legitimate and important concern. Your Lone Tree plastic surgeon wants to provide the best for your overall body goals, but also for your health and safety.

Today we’re going over all of your questions about how your breast augmentation is going to affect your mammograms.

Will my breast implants cause breast cancer?

The short answer: no. Saline? Silicone? It doesn’t matter. The age you received your implants? It doesn’t matter. How long you’ve had your implants? It doesn’t matter.
Whether you have 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

You are more likely to get breast cancer if you fall into any of these categories. Of course, that isn’t to imply that it’s impossible to get breast cancer when you don’t fall into these categories, it just isn’t as common.

Further Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Breast Augmentation

Will my breast implants prevent an accurate mammogram reading?

This is usual, but it can happen. However, there are things that can be done to help.

Implant location

When you speak with your plastic surgeon prior to your breast augmentation, you will be told about the two locations your implants can be placed.

  • A subglandular implant placement- the implant is under the breast gland and above your pectoral muscle
  • A submuscular implant placement – the implant is under both the gland and the pectoral muscle

A submuscular placement ensures the most visibility and more accurate mammogram results. If you have a history of breast cancer, this is certainly a more tactical placement for you.

Find an experienced clinic

Getting your mammogram from a healthcare facility that commonly works with women who have implants means they have more knowledge and experience. While you should always account for human error, mammogram technicians who understand where implants are located will know how and where to take the images.

It’s always important to tell the facility and your technician that you have breast implants prior to both your appointment and your exam. Women who don’t have implants are likely to have four images taken. However, women with implants, generally get at least two more, allowing as much tissue as possible to be seen.

Talk about changes in your breast(s)

If you’ve noticed anything different in your breasts- feel, look, or comfort-level, be sure to tell your mammographer. More imaging may need to be done, or you may be sent to get an ultrasound of your breast(s).

Will my breast implants be damaged during a mammogram?

During a mammogram, the breast is pushed, compressed, and pulled into many positions and directions in order 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.

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.

Will my breast implants impede my self-examinations?

It’s recommended that women perform monthly self-examinations on their breasts. This is important because finding a new lump should absolutely lead you to the doctor quickly.

Women with implants should also perform these tests because your breast implants will not influence its effectiveness. And often, implants improve its effectiveness, allowing the patient to find the lump sooner.

The takeaway

You should never put off a mammogram or discontinue vital breast self-examinations because of your breast implants. Breast cancer is too common, but with early detection, it doesn’t have to be fatal or even significantly life-changing.

Emmett’s Plastic Surgery cares about your health. If you have any questions or comments about your breast augmentation, we’re happy to help. Contact us for more information.