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Possible Interference by Breast Implants

On this page, Dr. Loftus explains how breast cancer can be detected after breast augmentation.

All breast implants will interfere with the ability of mammograms to evaluate breasts. Because one in nine women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, mammographic screening for early diagnosis is important. The presence of a breast implant may, therefore, delay the diagnosis of breast cancer. It turns out, however, that women with breast implants who get breast cancer are generally diagnosed at the same stage as women without breast implants who get breast cancer. It is believed that self- breast examinations help facilitate self detection. Self exams off-set interference with mammography, as implanted breasts yield more consistent self exams.

Self Breast Examination

It is important to understand that implants do not interfere with self-breast examinations. After having breast augmentation surgery, making a habit of examining yourself will only increase your chances of early breast cancer detection. Further, if a breast mass is found on self-examination but blocked by the implant on mammogram,there are other diagnostic tests available. An ultrasound, CT, and MRI can be used for testing, and the results are not affected by an implant. Fortunately, most breast tissue is not blocked by the implant during mammography, but it is reassuring to know that other diagnostic tests exist if that were the case.

Implant Position

It is significant to know before breast augmentation surgery, that implant position affects interference with mammography. Implants placed above the muscle block about 25% of the breast tissue during mammography, whereas implants placed below the muscle block only 10-15%. Hence, mammography can visualize about 75% of breast tissue when the implants are placed above the muscle, and it can visualize about 85-90% of breast tissue when the implants are placed below the muscle. As such, mammography remains an important diagnostic procedure for all women over 40, regardless of whether or not they have implants.

If you have a mother or sister with breast cancer, your risk of developing breast cancer is increased, and you should choose to either have your implants placed below the muscle or forego breast augmentation all together.

Ecklund Technique

A special mammogram method called the Ecklund technique is designed for women with breast implants, and all mammography facilities in the United States are required to offer it.

Dr. Loftus

About Dr. Loftus

Dr. Loftus is a female plastic surgeon who is considered a national authority on plastic surgery, having appeared on numerous talk shows as an expert. Her book has become a best-selling book on plastic surgery and has earned her the reputation as a vocal advocate of patient safety, satisfaction, and education in plastic surgery. No wonder her patients have such great things to say about her…
Dr. Loftus standing by staff
My results are amazing - Dr. Loftus is amazing!
My friends can't believe how natural I look!
I had no pain after surgery and recovery was so easy.
The entire experience was fabulous!
I am a nurse who has worked with many doctors, Dr. Loftus is the best!
The care was exceptional and results are incredible!
My results are better than I ever imagined!
Dr. Loftus is a rare surgeon: highly skilled, personable and compassionate!
My experience from start to finish was completely extraordinary!
Awesome results from a skilled and caring doctor.
I love love love Dr. Loftus and everyone in the office!
I've never felt so comfortable and understood in a doctor's office.
I felt so comfortable and barely had any pain at all.
I never knew I could look this good! Thank you Dr. Loftus!!!
Never met such a warm and caring staff anywhere else.
If only every doctor could be like Dr. Loftus, how very fortunate we would be.

Dr. Loftus
on The View

Dr. Loftus
on The Today Show

Dr. Loftus

Dr. Loftus
on Later Today

Dr. Loftus
on Later Today

Dr. Loftus
on CNN

Cincinnati: The Christ Hospital 2139 Auburn Avenue, Suite 201
Cincinnati, OH 45219
(513) 793-4000
5 minutes from downtown Cincinnati,
At the Christ Medical Office Building

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Northern Kentucky 1881 Dixie Highway, Suite 300
Fort Wright, KY 41011
3 minutes from downtown Cincinnati &
visible from I-71/75

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