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Mammograms are breast x-rays that form a vital and continuous part of any breast surgery procedure. The process of using them is referred to as mammography. If you have breast implants then it is important to mention the same to the breast screening clinic as different techniques are likely to be used for screening of the mammogram.

Breast Implants

Breast implants or breast prostheses as they are also known as are inserted in order to enlarge or change the shape of the breasts and also in the reconstruction of the breast following surgery. A breast implant typically comprises an envelope or shell made of silicone with the shell being filled with a saline (salt) fluid, a silicone gel, or a combination of both.

Breast Screening

Women in the age bracket of 50 to 69 are invited to have a free breast screening mammogram every two years as part of the Breast Screen Australia program. Undergoing such regular x-rays or screening mammograms is the best way to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.

Breast screening usually detects most breast cancers at the time of the mammogram but, as in so many other medical tests, they cannot be considered as 100 percent effective. The presence, type, and position of the implant within the breast considerably affect the amount of breast tissue that can be seen on the mammogram.

If you have implants and wish to undergo treatment for breast cancer, a general breast screening service such as Breast Screen won’t be the best option that suits your needs. You need to have a discussion on your individual circumstances with your doctor.

Implants And Cancer – No Evidence

Currently, there is no evidence that breast cancer is more frequent in women who have had breast implants as opposed to those who are without any such prosthetics.

Different Screening Mammogram Procedures

The clinic performing the Breast Screen needs to know whether you have implants – this is very important. The radiographer taking your mammogram may use special techniques for achieving clear images of the breasts. This could prove a little uncomfortable.

Some women are also concerned about being exposed to radiation. The dose of radiation in breast mammography is extremely low. For most, the benefits of undergoing regular screening far outweigh any possible risk that a radiation exposure may pose. Breast screening for women with breast implants often involves the use of more x-ray films than for those women who do not have any implants which increases the possibility of additional exposure to radiation.

A Small Risk Of Damage To The Implant

Radiographers take special care in using minimal compression on the breast implant at the time of the breast screening procedure. It is highly unlikely that the compression could result in or worsen silicone leakage or change the shape or texture of the breast but this is a possibility that cannot be ruled out.

Detecting Implant Problems

If you are experiencing problems with your implant have a consultation with your doctor before coming to Breast Screen Victoria. Our breast screen service is not designed to investigate or diagnose conditions associated with breast implants.

Possible abnormalities with breast implants are not always obvious on a screening mammogram but if a possible abnormality in the implant is noted then Breast Screen will inform you of the same later on in your results.

Things To Remember

Most women who have breast implants can successfully undergo regular screening mammograms. It is important that you inform the Breast Screen clinic of any implants as different techniques may be implemented for screening of the mammogram.

Though unlikely, there is the possibility of a screen mammogram causing or worsening silicone leakage or change in the shape or texture of the breasts. Most women will find the benefit of a breast screening mammogram far outweighing the associated risks.

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