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Navigating Mammograms with Breast Implants: What You Need To Know

At The Boob Bus, one of the most common questions we get asked is about breast implants and how they are affected by mammograms. With an increasing number of women getting breast augmentation, it’s no wonder this topic is on many women’s minds. Breast augmentation continues to be the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States. Women choose to have this procedure for different reasons, typically to increase self-esteem, reconstruction after a mastectomy, or to enhance their appearance in a more visual society.  

Alongside the aesthetic component, there are health considerations to weigh when deciding on breast implants, especially when it comes to mammogram screenings. The American College of Radiology recommends that women with an average risk for breast cancer have a mammogram screening every year beginning at age 40. Of note, those with a higher than average breast cancer risk may need to start screening by mammogram before age 40, according to the ACR.. 

Mammograms are crucial for detecting breast cancer early when it is the most treatable, and breast implants do impact the screening process. Here’s how…

Mammography  involves compressing the breast between two plates to capture X-ray images. This compression is necessary to help spread out the breast tissue and make it easier to detect abnormalities, such as masses or calcifications that could be cancerous. The process typically captures two images of each breast and usually takes less than 10 minutes. 

When a woman has breast implants, the process is lengthier as it generally requires  four images per breast. It’s essential to inform a provider about implants before the mammogram screening and to find a provider with experience performing mammograms on women with implants. There are mammogram technicians trained to use specialized techniques to ensure that the breast tissue is adequately visualized despite the presence of implants. Open communication is key!

Navigating mammograms for women with breast implants can take a few extra steps and considerations, but it’s crucial not to let any obstacles deter women from prioritizing their breast health. By staying informed, communicating with healthcare providers, and advocating for their well-being, women with breast implants can ensure they receive the comprehensive breast care they deserve. 

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