Women Should Prioritize Mammography After Breast Augmentation
Dr. Henry Garazo stresses an important message for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: women with breast implants still need to undergo routine screening for breast cancer
HAGERSTOWN, Md., Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — It’s now known that breast implants do not increase breast cancer risk, and there’s even more good news: having this popular cosmetic surgery can actually motivate women to establish positive breast health habits, says Hagerstown plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Garazo. He stresses that mammography is important for women after breast augmentation, the same as it is for women without breast implants.
“Unfortunately, some confusion remains about mammography and breast implants,” says Dr. Garazo. “Some believe the test cannot be safely performed or will not be useful. The truth is, a mammogram is the best tool to screen for breast cancer, regardless of whether or not a patient has breast implants.”
Don’t Neglect Mammography After Breast Augmentation
While mammograms are still effective after breast augmentation, some modification is necessary to ensure thorough testing. Because an implant can obscure visibility of breast tissue in certain views, patients will usually require additional images, taken with the implant pushed back against the chest using a method called implant displacement, also known as the “Eklund Technique.”
Ensuring Safe Mammography for Breast Augmentation Patients
Because hundreds of thousands of American women have breast implants, measures to increase accessibility to safe, thorough screening have come into place. The Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992 requires that radiologic technologists who perform mammograms be specifically trained in performing the test on women with implants.
Dr. Garazo also notes that placing implants submuscularly (underneath the pectoralis major muscle) can make mammograms after breast augmentation both more effective and easier to perform. This technique allows for better implant displacement during the test, which can increase the amount of breast tissue visible on a mammogram by up to 85%.
Patients with Silicone Implants Should Add Regular MRI Scans
In addition to routine mammograms, Dr. Garazo notes that the FDA has recommended regular MRI scans to monitor for possible ruptures. Since the silicone gel used in implants today will hold its shape even when the outer shell breaks, it is virtually impossible to detect a rupture otherwise. Because an MRI can capture highly detailed images of the entire breast, in some cases it may be used to screen for cancer as well.
Early detection is key to improving a patient’s odds of surviving breast cancer. While the incidence of breast cancer is no higher in women with implants than in those without, regular screening, including mammography, can help find cancer in its earliest stages.
About Dr. Henry F. Garazo: Plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Garazo is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has been selected as one of America’s Top Plastic Surgeons by the Consumers’ Research Council of America for five consecutive years. He practices in his hometown of Hagerstown, Maryland, at The Galleria, 1140 Conrad Court, Hagerstown, Md., 21740-5905. Reach him at (301) 791-1800 or www.plasticsurgeryservices.net.
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SOURCE Dr. Henry F. Garazo