How is a mammogram done if I have breast implants?

Joanna N. Tewfik, DO
Diagnostic Radiology
Technicians and radiologists should know how to perform mammography on women with breast implants, but it is up to you to make sure they know. Before your examination, you will be given a questionnaire that asks about any prior breast surgeries, including breast augmentation. It is important to complete this part.

Instead of two views of each breast as in a routine mammogram, a mammogram for someone with breast implants includes four views of each breast. In addition, two implant-displaced views are performed for each breast in order to move the implant posteriorly and view more of the normal breast tissue.

Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be recommended if you have breast implants. Additional studies may be recommended if you have a strong family history of breast cancer or if you have known dense breast tissue and/or fibrocystic breasts.
In women who have breast implants, four pictures of each breast are usually taken for a mammogram -- two with the implants included in the image and two with the implants pushed back (implant displacement), compressing only the breast tissue in front of them. This allows for a more thorough evaluation of the breast tissue. Implants can obscure some areas of the breast tissue, but using the implant displacement technique increases the overall amount of breast tissue that is adequately visible on each film.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.