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Breast Cancer Screening with Breast Implants

Breast cancer screening is just as important for women who have breast implants as it is for those who haven’t. However, the method of breast cancer screening often differs out of necessity. For women with breast implants, especially those who have had breast cancer or have a family history of breast cancer, it is important to ask your healthcare provider about getting routine breast MRI to screen for breast cancer.

Whether it is for aesthetic or therapeutic reasons, mammograms maybe more difficult for those who have had breast implant surgery. In many cases, MRI can be a great option. Sometimes, the pressure of the mammogram can cause harm to the implant and the implant plus the scar tissue from the surgery reduces the effectiveness of breast cancer screening by mammogram. Breast implants make it harder to detect cancer with traditional mammograms especially silicone breast implants because of the density of the silicone is hard to see through when interpreting mammograms. Some women avoid screening all together because they don’t want to risk bursting their breast implants and they don’t know that breast MRIs are an option for them.

In general, a dedicated breast MRI provides higher quality images of breast anatomy than mammograms and for women who’ve had breast implants it’s pretty much the only option for a good effective screening tool. Not only are breast MRIs used to find and diagnose they assist in treatment planning for breast cancer. With a 95 percent sensitivity (meaning they catch 95% of breast cancers that exist – pretty good statistics!) breast MRIs are designed for breast anatomy and to most our Newport Beach clients’ relief, there is no squeezing or pressure on the breasts! So it’s definitely much more comfortable than traditional mammograms and the MRIs won’t harm the breast implants!

For those who have breast implants because they had a breast lift to remove breast cancer, a breast MRI is an absolute must. Unless something else prevents a woman from getting an MRI (metal somewhere in the body, for example) breast cancer survivors need to have a breast MRI even after a breast lift or mastectomy because recurrence is still possible even if it’s less likely.  Breast MRIs can detect a possible cancer recurrence two, three, four, five years earlier than if using a mammogram – that can be a matter of life or death in some cases! It’s also a lot easier to differentiate between scar tissue from surgery and cancerous lesions when using breast MRI. Thankfully many unnecessary biopsies and inconclusive findings that cause unfounded worry is drastically reduced when breast MRIs are used compared to mammogram studies.

If you have breast implants or are thinking about getting some, remember to talk to your healthcare provider about using breast MRIs for your screening tool. For any further information, contact one of the best Newport Beach’s breast plastic surgeon, Dr. Ali Sajjadian.