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Mammography with Breast Implants

Healthcare provider positioning woman for mammogram.

Mammography is an X-ray of your breast tissue. The image that it makes is called a mammogram. A mammogram can help find problems in your breasts, such as cysts or cancer. Breast implants can interfere with taking and reading mammograms. Special methods must be used to get the best image. A mammogram is done by a technologist.

Before your test

  • Make sure the clinic gets your last mammogram, if it was done somewhere else. This lets the healthcare provider compare the two.

  • On the morning of your test, don't use deodorant, powder, or perfume.

  • Schedule the test for one week after your period. Your breasts are less tender then.

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

  • 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 breastfeeding

  • Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant

  • Have had a breast biopsy or surgery

  • Have moles on or near your breasts

During your test

  • You will need to undress from the waist up.

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

  • Each of your breasts will be squeezed (compressed). Extra views of each breast, called push back views, will be done. These help to give the best view of your breast tissue, which can be hidden by your implants. The technologist will take care not to break your implants. It is rare that implants are damaged during a mammogram.

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. You will be called to schedule them if they are necessary.

  • You should receive your test results in writing. Ask about this at your appointment.

Screening mammograms and self-exams

  • Be sure you know how your breasts and implants normally look and feel. This will help you notice any changes. Report changes to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

  • Have screening mammograms and professional breast exams as often as your healthcare provider recommends. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Grossman, Neil, MD
Last Review Date: 10/1/2017
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