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Mammography with Breast Implants

Mammography is an X-ray of breast tissue. The image produced is called a mammogram. Mammography can help detect breast cancer in its early, most treatable stages.

For average risk women, VA recommends screening annually for women ages 45-54. At age 55 and older, women should transition to biennial screening or have the opportunity to continue annually. Women ages 40-44 should have the opportunity to begin annual screening. Women should continue screening as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or longer.

Women at known higher risk for breast cancer may need more frequent mammography or other types of tests. It is important for all women to pay attention to any changes in their breasts and report these changes to their healthcare team.

Healthcare provider positioning woman for mammogram.

Before your test

  • Tell your healthcare provider that you have breast implants when you schedule your exam.

  • Schedule the test for 1 week after your period, when your breasts are less tender.

  • Make sure your current testing facility gets a copy of your last mammogram if it was done somewhere else. This lets the healthcare provider compare the two studies and check for changes since your last screening.

  • On the morning of your test, don’t use deodorant, powder, or perfume. These can affect your X-rays.

  • Wear a top you can remove easily.

Arriving for your test

Remind your technologist that you have breast implants.

Also tell the technologist if you:

  • Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant

  • Are breastfeeding

  • Have had a breast biopsy or surgery

  • Have moles on or near your breasts

During your test

Breast implants can interfere with taking and reading mammograms, so special techniques must be used to get the best image. 

  • You will need to undress from the waist up.

  • The technologist will position your breast to get the best results. The technologist will take your implants into account when positioning your breasts. Implants may be moved aside. This will help ensure that as much breast tissue as possible can be seen on the mammogram.

  • Each of your breasts will be compressed. This helps create the most complete X-ray image. The technologist will take care to avoid breaking the implant.

After your test

  • The technologist may have you wait a few minutes to be sure the images are readable.

  • More X-rays are sometimes needed. These should be completed as recommended.

  • You should be notified of your mammography results in writing. Ask about this on the day of your appointment.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 4/1/2020
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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