Breast Implants and Mammograms

Numerous studies have shown that breast implants do not cause any form of cancer in humans. They do, however, obscure mammogram results enough that extra views often need to be taken after your breast augmentation. This does not appear to delay the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Radiologists often refer to previous mammograms to determine whether things they see are new or have remained the same since your last mammogram. They are firm in their belief that a baseline mammogram prior to any breast surgery is important. I know very prominent plastic surgeons who require mammograms for women of any age before they will do a breast augmentation. Cancer has been found in women as young as eighteen.

I recommend women under 30 get a mammogram before their breast augmentation procedure, but I don’t require it.

For women between 30 and 35, I recommend it more strongly. For woman over 35 or for any woman with a family history of breast cancer, I absolutely require it.

I am finding more HMOs that don’t “recommend” a mammogram until age 40 or even 50. This is purely a financial advantage for them. Mammograms are not particularly expensive, and I have never had a radiologist refuse to do one if they know the woman is preparing to have breast augmentation. They also want you to have that mammogram before surgery.

Once you get your mammogram, ask for a copy and keep it in your files.

You will most likely not go back to the same mammography center for the rest of your life. When you move, therefore, make sure to get a copy of the last mammogram you had, along with the official reading of it. The next radiologist will love you for having done so because it will make your next reading more meaningful.

Read more of Dr. Saltz’s articles about breast augmentation: