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Do Breast Implants Affect Breast Cancer Detection?

October marks breast cancer awareness month. As more and more attention is devoted to the importance of early detection, our patients at UCI Plastic Surgery are increasingly inquiring as to what effect breast augmentation has on breast cancer detection. While smart to be concerned, there is little evidence to suggest that breast augmentation and implants hinder the detection of breast cancer. That said, it is wise to understand how detection differs with implants.

Get to Know Your New Breasts

To aid in early detection, the American Cancer Society recommends that all women perform monthly self-breast exams. After breast augmentation, your breasts will have a beautiful new appearance and feel. For this reason, it is important to familiarize yourself with your new breasts—it may take a while for you to adjust to the new texture, folds, and dimples. As you become more comfortable with your breasts, you will be able to notice subtle changes.

FYI: Our highly trained team of surgeons and staff can help you with techniques to best self-examine your breasts in regards to your augmentation.

Be Forth Coming About Your Augmentation

Be honest and open about your breast augmentation. Always remind your doctor, radiologist, or any other health care specialist that you have undergone augmentation. Also, knowing information like the manufacture, design, style, and volume can help your doctor determine if there are any unusual changes.

Make Mammograms Routine

After the age of 40, yearly mammograms are essential for all women. Breast implants can slightly hinder the clarity of the mammogram image as both saline and silicone implants are somewhat opaque and can appear as white splotches on the image.

FYI: If you know you are at high risk for breast cancer or are particularly concerned, have the implant placed under the pectoral muscle. This allows for the implant to be further away from the breast gland and is less likely to obscure the mammogram image.

To improve the image’s clarity, your radiologist or technician may choose to capture additional views of your breast. By pushing the implant back against the chest wall, a technique known as “implant displacement views”, helps to bring breast tissue forward. Using this method, the view of the breast is improved in as many as 92% of patients.

We understand that choosing to have breast augmentation is lifelong decision. We are here to support you in your decision. During your initial consultation, we are happy to address any concerns and answer any questions you may have about breast augmentation and how it relates to breast cancer and early detection. Please contact UCI Plastic Surgery to learn more.