If you’ve had breast modifications, you might be wondering if you’ll still need mammograms regularly and how they might be different for you. Whether your modifications are from breast implants, a reduction or mastectomy, radiologist Dr. Leena Kamat has advice to guide you as you continue your annual mammograms.
Mammograms and Breast Implants
Implants can make imaging all of the breast tissue through a mammogram more challenging. Age and placement of the implant can cause some of the breast tissue to become obscured in the mammogram images.
“Mammograms are safe in women with breast implants,” says Dr. Kamat. “Implants do make it challenging to evaluate the breast tissue thoroughly. So we take a total of eight mammogram images instead of the standard four compared to women with no implants,” she says.
The mammogram technologists take four images, two of each breast, as a standard mammogram. For women with implants, they take four additional pictures while gently moving the implant to image the breast tissue around it.
Mammograms and Breast Reductions
Women who’ve had breast reductions might wonder if mammograms are still just as necessary. Dr. Kamat explains, “Breast reduction surgery will not impact how often you should undergo screening mammography. If you have undergone reduction mammoplasty, we still recommend annual mammography for asymptomatic women above age 40 with average risk factors.”
But how do breast reductions alter the mammogram process?
“Breast reduction surgery will alter the appearance of the breasts on a mammogram. Therefore, the first mammogram after reduction surgery will be considered the new baseline exam compared to what the breasts look like before surgery,” says Dr. Kamat.
Think of your first mammogram after breast reduction surgery as your very first mammogram. You’re starting anew.
Mammograms After Breast Surgery
If you’ve had surgery to remove a lump (lumpectomy), or one or both breasts removed (mastectomy) due to medical reasons like breast cancer, you may need additional support with mammograms depending on your circumstances.
According to Dr. Kamat, “ If you've had surgery for breast cancer like a lumpectomy, often a short-term follow-up mammogram after surgery is performed within six months. After that, we recommend an annual mammogram, but we often defer to the referring provider like the surgeon or oncologist for how often they may want to follow up. They may want a shorter interval like once every six months versus one year for the first two to five years after surgery. Once a mastectomy is performed on one breast, then a screening mammogram is only performed for the remaining breast.”
Be sure to talk to your health care provider to figure out the best plan for you and how often you should get your mammogram.
Support Every Step of the Way
No matter what turns your breast health journey may take, our team will always be your trusted guide for support and expert breast health care.
This is why we want to make it easier for you to get your annual mammogram with 30-minute screening appointments. Schedule your mammogram today.