Attn. Breast Implant Patients: Know Your Radiologist
It is well known that early detection is the key for breast cancer detection. Mammography is the standard requirement for women over the age of 40 to detect breast cancer. In fact, mammography testing should be repeated periodically as directed by your physician over your lifetime. Breast augmentation patients are particularly advised about the requirement of mammography testing during consultation for breast surgery and at the time that breast implants are placed. It is known that breast implants may limit the accuracy of mammography results as well. Women who have undergone breast augmentation should be aware of the tips for preventing false mammography results because of breast implants, as follows.
- Not all radiologists are familiar with the methods to limit the risk of inaccurate mammography results because of breast implants.
- Inquire about the radiologist’s experience for mammography testing for women with breast implants. Radiologists that test breast augmentation patients are less likely to rupture the breast implant during testing, are familiar with ways to limit the risks of a misdiagnosis and may be more accurate in interpreting the results of the mammography test.
- Let the appointment counselor know that you have had breast augmentation and the type of implant that you have before you schedule your appointment.
- Learn how to perform a self breast exam with breast implants and perform the exam monthly to familiarize yourself with your new breasts. This will provide you with the ability to detect some changes that may occur in breasts over time.
- Speak with a physician to determine your personal risk for breast cancer. Your physician will perform a risk assessment.
- Consider a MRI or ultrasound. Ultrasounds may be more likely to identity a tumor under breast tissue that is not visible in a mammography.
- Periodic MRI screening for breast cancer is a requirement for silicone breast implant patients. In some cases, MRI’s can produce false positive results.