A mammogram is a diagnostic tool used to detect breast cancer as early as possible. Research has shown that regular mammograms can lead to detection of breast cancer at less advanced stages, which can prevent the need for more radical cancer treatment such as mastectomy.

Studies have shown that a woman who selects a breast augmentation surgery and has breast implants is no more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who does not have implants. However, implants can interfere with the visibility of a tumor during a mammogram. Here are a few ways a woman with breast implants can get the most accurate result with a cancer screening:

1. Tell the mammography technician you have breast implants.

breast augmentation surgerySince breast augmentation surgery has become such a popular procedure, with over 290,000 procedures performed in 2013, many technicians are familiar with how to more effectively position the breast so that the implant will not impede visibility of the breast tissue.

With a method of positioning the augmented breast called Eklund displacement views, the implant is pushed back against the chest wall. Additionally, the breast tissue is pulled forward and around the implant so that it can be seen in a mammogram.

You should tell the technician you have breast implants prior to your screening so that he or she is sure to implement this positioning.

Many women are concerned about implant rupture during a mammogram, but this is a very rare occurrence. The rate of implant rupture is especially low with silicone-gel implants that are highly cohesive, and implants that are placed submuscularly are even less susceptible to this risk.

2. Choose a facility that has plenty of experience with breast augmentation surgery patients.

In performing over 30,000 mammograms annually, Diagnostic Imaging Services has screened thousands of women who have had breast augmentation. With that type of experience, women who visit DIS are in good hands with the right technology and expertise to perform an effective screen.

3. Consider an MRI instead of a mammogram.

Even though the risk is very low, it is possible that a mammogram could cause implant rupture. If this is a primary concern for the patient, they may feel more comfortable choosing a breast MRI, which is a very sensitive study for the detection of breast cancer.

It is also the best study available to determine if a silicone breast implant is ruptured. Women who have a family history of breast cancer and those with dense breasts should talk with their doctor about whether a breast MRI should be performed instead of or in addition to a screening mammogram.

Screening and diagnostic mammography are performed at all DIS locations. Breast MRI studies are conducted at our Metairie and Covington facilities.