Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure where silicone implants are inserted in the breasts to give it a fuller and bigger appearance. Implants are becoming a rage in today’s world, thanks to body image and women wanting to project a better self image and confidence to move ahead in their personal and professional life.
However, everything about breast implantation is not as forthcoming as everybody assumes. Breast cancer cases are increasing day by day. A mammography is a standard procedure that is recommended for all women over the age of 40 for detecting cancerous growths in the breasts early on. Breast implants could pose a serious problem for undertaking a mammography.
To reduce and catch the tumours early enough all women with a family history of breast cancers must go through a mammogram when they are as young as 25 years of age. Women who have a history of breast cancer in the family must stay away from implants as it will put them at risk of a breast cancer that remains undetected due to the augmentation. Mammography must be done every two years after the age of forty and once a year after the age of 50 by all women.
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When a mammography is done with implants, the images of the mammogram will be blocked by the implants. This will reduce the effectiveness of mammograms as the tumours that are small will not be detected during the procedure. A mammography with implants might also be painful as the implants will be compressed against your normal breast tissue, resulting in pain and soreness of the breasts for a few days after the procedure.
Another danger with a mammography with an implant is that the pressure exerted on the implants could make it burst. This applies to a saline as well as a silicone implant. In addition to a mammography, X rays too are recommended when there is an implant in your breast in order to detect tumours. This is not only detrimental to the health, but also adds to the expense.
Always make sure that you visit a radiologist who has experience dealing with mammograms with implants. An experienced technician will safely keep the implants away from the mammogram by pushing it towards the side to get more clarity on the mammogram and also to prevent the implants from getting compressed and bursting. He/she will have to go for more X ray images than the recommended 4 images that are normally taken for a mammogram.
A great complication of implants in some women is that the implants cause the tissue around it to become hard, causing pain. This is known as capsular contraction and women with such a condition will have to go through severe pain during mammography due to the compression of the hard tissue along with the implants. In certain cases, mammograms are rendered impossible.
As an alternative to mammograms, women with implants can go for an MRI scan or an ultrasound procedure which are much more costly. MRI scans have the risk of unnecessary radiation exposure as well.