Breast Implants Require Extra Attention during Mammograms
Breast implants can interfere with a mammogram, but extra awareness and special care can maximize the results of the procedure, increasing the chance of early breast cancer detection.
If you have breast implants, be sure to ask your doctor to refer you to a mammography facility that has breast implant experience. When making your appointment, be sure to mention that you have breast implants, to ensure that you will receive appropriate care.
The materials used in breast implants obscure the X-ray image of the tissue behind them, making it more difficult to recognize tumors. Implants that are placed in front of the chest muscle tissue present more difficulty that those placed behind the muscles.
Experienced Technicians Help Improve Accuracy
Technicians with breast implant experience can usually gently lift the natural breast away from the implants, allowing a more accurate image. These technicians are also trained to better recognize tumors on the X-rays of breast implant patients.
There is a small risk that the pressure exerted on the breast during a mammogram will rupture an implant, but medical professionals say that risk is far outweighed by the benefits of early breast cancer detection.
Although MRIs may play a larger role in the future of mammography, they are not yet as effective as X-rays in the detection of breast tumors. However, MRIs are recommended for detecting leaks in silicone breast implants.
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