2 Your Health: "Can I have a mammogram if I have breast implants - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

2 Your Health: "Can I have a mammogram if I have breast implants?"

2 Your Health: "Can I have a mammogram if I have breast implants?"

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CHARLESTON, SC -

If a woman has breast implants, is she still able to undergo a mammogram as a breast cancer screening tool?

Amy Bethea, a radiologist at Roper St Francis Hospital says breast implants can pose some challenges for radiologists and technicians, but women with breast implants should have mammograms. 

"Patients with implants definitely do need to have mammograms just like everybody else" Bethea says.

If you have breast implants, be sure to tell your mammography facility that you have them when you make your appointment. The technician and radiologist must be experienced in x-raying patients with breast implants. Implants can hide some breast tissue, making it harder for the radiologist to see a problem when looking at your mammogram.

"What we do to help us make sure that we see as much breast tissue as possible is we do what is called the implant in view images which are these (images) with the implant imaged and we do a second set of images which are the implant displaced views." Bethea says

To see as much breast tissue as possible, the x-ray technician will gently lift the breast tissue slightly away from the implant and take extra pictures of the breasts.

A woman who had an implant after breast cancer surgery in which the entire breast was removed (mastectomy) should ask her doctor whether she needs a mammogram of the reconstructed breast.

Although they are not perfect, mammograms are the best method to find breast changes that cannot be felt. If your mammogram shows a breast change, sometimes other tests are needed to better understand it. Even if the doctor sees something on the mammogram, it does not mean it is cancer.

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