Breast Implants & Mammograms

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A mammogram is a small, low dose X-ray used to produce an image of the breast.  They are performed by professional radiographers and are generally conducted within a hospital or in a screening centre.  Mammograms are the most commonly used tool for the detection of breast cancer, and for women over the age of 40 they are a regular part of their healthcare routine occurring once every year or two years, although for women who are within a high-risk category, mammograms may be recommended at an earlier age or more regularly.  This is likely to occur if you have family members who have suffered from breast cancer or if you have had a previous incident yourself. 

If you have a breast implant it is still possible to have a mammogram performed, and it is recommended that you do so in order to prevent any cancers from becoming a problem.  Having a breast implant will slightly change your experience of the mammogram, however, and in some instances the imaging might not be possible due to complications with your implant.  It is best to ask your GP for advice, as there are many clinics that have a lot of experience with screening breast implants who may be able to help you when others cannot.

It is important to still have regular mammograms if you do have breast implants, as you are likely to still have breast tissue around that area that could contract a tumour.  If you have breast removal and subsequent implants, then it is best to ask your doctor about future mammograms and whether they are necessary.  The myth of implants causing breast cancer is unfounded, however if not performed properly a mammogram might overlook small cancers within an implanted breast more easily than a breast without one.  This is due to the obstruction caused by the implant when the mammogram is taken as well as the calcifications that can occur around the implant.  Therefore it is important that you ensure your radiographer is aware of your implant so that they can take appropriate measures.

Risks Associated with Mammograms for Breast Implants »