Cosmetic Surgery Tip #20: Any breast surgery can have a small effect on breast cancer screening in the future

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Breast health is important. Before the surgery, have a proper breast exam with your GP or gynaecologist. If you’re of age, get a mammogram. Most mammographers don’t have an issue if the implant is placed behind the muscle, but it is important to discuss this with your plastic surgeon. The x-rays used for mammographic imaging of the breasts cannot penetrate silicone or saline implants well enough to image the overlying or underlying breast tissue. Therefore, some breast tissue (approximately 25%) will not be seen on the mammogram, as it will be covered up by the implant. In order to visualise as much breast tissue as possible, women with implants undergo additional views as well as the standard images taken during diagnostic mammography. In these additional x-ray pictures, called Eklund technique or implant displacement (ID) views, the implant is pushed back against the chest wall and the breast is pulled forward over it. This allows better imaging of the forward most part of each breast. Sometimes it is more difficult to perform the Eklund technique in women who have severe scar tissue or capsular contracture and women who have very dense or fibrous breasts. Implants placed above the muscle can also make it more difficult to determine microcalcifications. Scar tissue around the capsule can be difficult to differentiate from calcification, which could be associated with cancer and thereby require an actual biopsy. The ID views are easiest to obtain in a women whose implants are placed underneath (behind) the chest muscle.

Photo Credit: Saul Steinberg “Masquerade”

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