Alternatives to Mammograms for Breast Implants

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There is another imaging technique that can be used for patients who have breast implants and cannot have a mammogram completed.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan

An MRI scan uses magnetic fields and radio frequencies to produce a detailed picture of the breast.  It takes place within a tube, and you will be asked to lie stomach down on a bed which then passes through the tube as the images are taken.  You will need to stay completely still throughout the process, which will vary in length depending on the machine used.  This can be uncomfortable and claustrophobic however it does produce a very in-depth and clear image of your breasts and is highly effective in early stage cancer recognition.

Ultrasound Scan

This is potentially more comfortable and easier than an MRI scan, but it isn’t as accurate as an MRI scan and may lead to a tumour being overlooked that might otherwise be picked up on.  The ultrasound scanner uses sound waves to produce a detailed picture of your breast.  Gel s applied to the area and a hand held scanner passed over your breasts as the practitioner looks on in real time.   This allows them to look more closely into abnormalities as well as produce pictures for further study.

These methods of breast imaging are often used as supplementary tools for mammograms, however can be used effectively if you have breast implants or if your breasts cannot be successfully viewed using a mammogram, for example if under 30 sometimes the breast tissue is too dense for a mammogram reading.

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