This is an excellent question that I often hear from women considering breast augmentation. The short answer is that breast implants can potentially make viewing breast tissues and identifying any irregularities a bit more difficult during traditional mammograms. However, there are special methods that can be employed to improve the accuracy of mammography results for women who have implants.
For individuals whose implants are positioned below the pectoral muscle, one technique a mammogram technologist can use is known as “implant displacement.” With this approach, breast tissue is pulled one way while the implant is pushed in another direction as the mammogram is performed. In addition to the four traditional mammography photos, a number of specialized images can also be captured, enabling a more comprehensive view of each breast to be obtained and reviewed.
When breast implants are located on top of the muscle—or when the implant displacement technique doesn’t produce acceptable results—magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can often be an effective alternative. With an MRI, a radiology technician can usually photograph an enhanced view of breast tissues, regardless of any obstruction the implants may be causing.
Ultimately, for any woman with breast implants, my advice is to share this information upfront when booking a mammogram screening. Doing so will allow the team responsible for performing and examining the results of your mammogram to be better prepared to utilize alternative mammography techniques in the event they are necessary.
– Enrique Silberblatt, MD, FACS