Mammograms are a quintessential tool in the field of women’s health. All women over forty, even those who have undergone breast augmentation and have surgical implants should have mammograms to screen for breast cancer. However, surgical implants pose specific challenges, as the x-rays used cannot penetrate saline or silicone implants. This means that the images taken will not show the breast tissue that is covered with the implant and special images must be taken to ensure that all breast tissue is examined.
A mammogram taken on un-augmented breasts consists of four images, one head to toe view and one angled side view per breast. For women with implants, four images per breast are taken. In addition to the head to toe and side view images, the radiologic technician takes two extra photos called “implant displacement” (ID) views. In these images, each implant will be pushed back while the breasts are pulled forward, allowing clearer imaging for the front part of the breast.
Like women who haven’t undergone breast augmentation, the American Cancer Society suggests women with implants should get a mammogram every year after turning 40. Be sure to inform your doctor and radiologic technician if you have implants so they can take the appropriate images. Additionally, describe any other medical history like hormone use, family or personal history of breast cancer that may affect your risk of developing breast cancer.