If I have breast implants, what type of mammogram will I need?

If you have breast implants, your initial mammogram will be the classic images, where technicians use gentle pressure to compress the breast tissue between two surfaces and take a picture. Following those, the breast implant is manually held back against the chest wall while the breast tissue is slid forward. More pictures are taken of the breast tissue in this position. These extra views, called implant displacement views, are needed to try to see as much of the breast tissue as possible.

Taking mammograms in women with breast implants is very common. Most technicians have extensive experience and training in the techniques needed. Mammograms for women with implants may be uncomfortable if there is a lot of scar tissue present. It’s important to notify your mammography technician if you have breast implants.

The rate of implant rupture from a mammogram is very low. Women with breast implants should follow breast cancer screening guidelines and work with their primary providers to schedule regular mammograms.

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Breast implants require a special type of mammogram (an x-ray of the inside of the breast, which can be done either as a routine screening test or to pinpoint the cause of breast cancer symptoms). You will need more images than a regular mammogram. This is because the implant covers some of the breast tissue. The implant may be gently moved back and out of the way of the tissue for some of the images. Other images will include the implant.

As with all mammograms, some compression is applied. For images with the implants, the amount of compression is adjusted so that it only prevents motion that could blur the images. For the images intended to show the tissue in front of the implant, the normal amount of compression is applied. This may cause slight discomfort for a few seconds, which is usual for any type of mammogram.

Dr. Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgeon

You should request the Eklund technique mammogram if you have implants. This technique uses a cone compression device that will displace the prosthetic device while taking several views of the breast. The technician must be made aware that you have either silicone or saline implants. The special hand piece will then be used to prevent inadvertent rupture of your breast implant. Patients with silicone gel implants should have an MRI performed at least every three years to determine the integrity of the silicone shell. Mammograms are not sensitive to silicone rupture and yield false negative results.

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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.