Mammograms after breast implants

Mammograms after breast implants

25th Nov 2016


It is very important for all women, whether or not they have breast implants, to be screened for breast cancer. A very useful screening tool is the mammogram, which compresses the breast tissue in order to obtain a clear image of it.

The presence of the breast implants creates an obstruction to the full visualization of the breast tissue. It blocks underlying breast tissue that may or may not have the early signs of breast cancer. Due to possible calcification, the breast implants can also show a false positive result. The Eklund technique can be used to visualize the breast tissue better even in the presence of breast implants.

There are risks in using the mammogram on those with breast implants. Some of these risks include rupture of the implant, change in shape of the breast after the procedure, and the exposure to radiation. If the mammogram can’t be used, other tests such as the ultrasound and MRI can also help in the diagnosis of breast cancer.


Screening For Breast Cancer

A mammogram is a tool that helps to screen women for breast cancer. The routine screening is required to be done regularly at least every two years for women who are 40 years of age and older. This helps to detect cancer during its early stages, so that treatment may be started as soon as possible.

The risk of breast cancer is still present in women who have breast implants. The regular screening every two years is still applicable to these women when they reach 40 years of age. There is nothing wrong with getting breast implants, but you have to make sure that you also understand that it can cause issues with the mammogram. Although the breast implants can cause interference in the screening, there are still ways to screen women with breast implants. Do not skip your screening just because of your implants.


Breast Implants On Mammograms Results

The main reason why breast implants interfere with the mammogram is that they appear opaque under the mammogram. Part of the breast tissue, from fifteen percent to more than fifty percent, can be hidden because of it.

The presence of the implants can also displace other signs of early breast cancer, such as the appearance of tissue distortions, micro calcification, and tiny dense masses. Because of the risk of rupture, the implants also limit the compression used. This prevents the proper visualization of the breast tissues. Additionally, due to the presence of calcification that was brought about by the breast implant surgery, the screening could also show a false positive.


Eklund Technique

Those who have breast implants can still undergo efficient mammogram screening through the use of a special technique called the Eklund technique. This is done by pushing the implants against the chest wall to flatten them a bit, and then take an image of the breast tissue. This technique can be successfully done by a skilled mammographer. Before you set up an appointment for a mammogram screening test, you first have to make sure that they are capable of performing the test on people with breast implants.


Risk of Using Mammograms On Those With Breast Implants

Screening for breast cancer is crucial, but those who have breast implants should also remember that there are risks involved, such as:

– Leaks and ruptures: Although the breast implants are made of a durable coating to prevent leaks and ruptures, there is still a chance for rupture to occur because of the pressure brought about by the mammogram. Implants that are already starting to leak or have been ruptured can help the fluid to spread through the breast tissue.

– Shape of the breast changes: Some women develop capsular contracture, which is the hardening of the tissues surrounding the implant. The pressure of the mammogram can damage the hardened scar and even soften it up. This may result in a change of shape but the change in shape may not be symmetrical with the other breast.

– Exposure to radiation: When the mammogram is performed, it makes use of low-dose radiation to be able to produce an image of the breast tissue. Due to the presence of the implants, there would be more images that would be taken in order to fully see the breast. This means that women with breast implants get a little bit more exposure to radiation than those who do not have implants.

Although there are risks involved, only a small percentage of those with breast implants have had a bad experience with mammography. For most, the early diagnosis of breast cancer outweighs the risks.


Other Radiographic Methods To View The Breast

There are cases when the use of the mammogram isn’t possible, such as when the implants are already leaking. Although the mammogram is still the best screening tool, there are alternative radiographic tools that can also be used to help aid in the visualization of the breast tissue such as:

– Ultrasound: Ultrasounds can help distinguish the solid masses from the fluid-filled cysts that are present in the breast. Using ultrasound on the breast of those who have breast implants is perfectly safe, and the breast implants don’t interfere with the results.

– Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI is also a great tool to see the presence of breast cancer. Aside from being able to show the breast tissue clearly, it can also help determine if the implants are still intact. Most of the time, a leaking silicone implant is hard to detect because the shape of breast remains the same. Through MRI, the implants can be checked for small leaks and ruptures.



Breast cancer is a disease that, through mammogram screening tests, can be diagnosed early. The presence of the breast implants can interfere with the results of the mammogram by blocking the breast tissue or producing an image with false positive results. To help facilitate the mammogram screening test, the Eklund technique is used on those who have breast implants.

The risks of rupture of the breast implant, change in shape of the breast, and exposure to radiation are all present when the mammogram is used on someone who has breast implants. If the mammogram can’t be used, there are other alternatives such as the ultrasound and MRI to help with the diagnosis.


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