Mammograms for Women with Breast Implants

If you have breast implants, you should still get regular screening mammograms as recommended.

It’s important to tell the technologist you have implants before your mammogram is started. In fact, it’s best to mention this when you make the appointment to have your mammogram done. This way you can find out if the facility has experience doing mammograms in women with breast implants.

You should be aware that it might be hard for the doctor to see certain parts of your breast. The x-rays used in mammograms cannot go through silicone or saline implants well enough to show the breast tissue that is in line with them on the mammogram. This means that part of the breast tissue can be hard to see on a mammogram.

To help the doctor see as much breast tissue as possible, women with implants have 4 extra pictures done (2 on each breast), as well as the 4 standard pictures taken during a screening mammogram. In these extra pictures, called implant displacement (ID) views, the implant is pushed back against the chest wall and the breast is pulled forward over it and then compressed. This allows better imaging of the front part of each breast.

Implant displacement views are harder to do and can be uncomfortable if a lot of scar tissue (called contractures) has formed around the implants. ID views are easier if the implants were placed underneath (behind) the chest muscles.

Very rarely, the mammogram process can rupture an implant. This is another important reason to make sure the mammography facility knows you have implants.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Helvie MA, Patterson SK. Chapter 11: Imaging Analysis: Mammography. In: Harris JR, Lippman ME, Morrow M, Osborne CK, eds. Diseases of the Breast. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014.

Venkataraman S, Slanetz PJ. Breast imaging for cancer screening: Mammography and ultrasonography. UpToDate. 2019. Accessed at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/breast-imaging-for-cancer-screening-mammography-and-ultrasonography on August 21, 2019.

Last Medical Review: October 3, 2019 Last Revised: October 3, 2019

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