Can a mammogram cause implant rupture?

Can a mammogram cause implant rupture?

06th Jun 2017

Whether scan tests can cause breast implant rupture is one of the most debated topics in plastic surgery. Opinions are mixed, with some plastic surgeons arguing that mammograms cannot cause rupture. There are those who believe the test can risk expanding the scar capsule that can form on the implant, and those who agree that mammograms can cause implant rupture, but only in very rare instances.

From my personal experience, I agree with the latter. Implant rupture from scan tests such as mammograms are very rare; however, the risk increases as you get older and your implants become weaker.

It is important for patients considering mammogram to insist on the use of the cone compression mammography, particularly the Eklund technique, as it does not carry the risk of rupture. It is imperative to notify your doctor and mammogram technician of your breast implants, as adding extra pressure can cause the implants to rupture.

A study conducted by the FDA in 2004 revealed that scan tests can cause breast implants to rupture. The study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, took into account negative reports of breast implants stored in the FDA’s database. Researchers noted 66 cases of implant rupture from breast scan tests, with 62 percent suspected to have occurred during mammography. The study found mammography-related ruptures for both silicone and saline breast implants.

The research also discovered cases of squeezed implants and capsular contractures triggered by mammography. 17 cases of rupture due to scan test compression were also reported. However, the study fell short of determining the frequency of breast implant ruptures and associated problems caused by scan tests. As the purpose of a mammogram is to capture an image of the breast tissue, it should be noted that breast implants can mask up to 83 percent of breast tissue, creating problems in diagnosing problems such as breast cancer.

In my decades-long practice and experience, I have encountered very few cases of breast implant ruptures from scan tests. Replacing a ruptured implant is the patient’s own responsibility. Thankfully in most cases, implant manufacturers replace them at no additional cost due to warranty. The surgical costs for replacement are not included, however.

If you think that your breast implant has ruptured during a scan test, consult with your plastic surgeon immediately to diagnose the condition.


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