Having had a breast augmentation does not change your need for regular self and clinical exams. Breast exams with implants are vitally important for long-term health.
Breast Examination Recommendations
All women between the ages of 20 and 39 should do a self-examination every month. In addition, it is also recommended that these women undergo a clinical exam with a practitioner once every three years. After reaching the age of 40, women should continue to perform monthly self-exams. After this age, however, professionals recommend a yearly clinical exam and the addition of a mammogram every one to two years. After age 50, the frequency of self-exams and annual clinical exams does not change. However, the recommended frequency for mammograms changes to yearly.
How to Self-Examine
Because breast exams with implants are so important, women must learn how to perform them correctly. Some women have challenges after breast augmentation because they cannot feel the difference between the breast tissue and the implant. I tell my patients that they must press firmly enough at the edge of the implants so they can feel their ribs underneath. However, it is important not to squeeze the valves of saline implants during this process because this could cause deflation and leaking (silicone implants do not have this problem). If you find bumps or lumps in this process, always make an appointment for an examination as quickly as possible.
The Risks for Women With Implants
A woman with implants does not have a higher breast cancer risk than one without them. The risk lies in the ability to detect cancer due to the presence of the implants. In fact, it is common for these patients to experience a later detection than patients without implants. This can lead to a decreased chance of survival.
After undergoing breast augmentation, physicians are careful to explain the breast exam process to ensure that patients understand their importance. Please direct any questions and concerns you may have to my office and we will be happy to assist you.