A woman who has had breast implants should
continue to have mammograms. (A woman who has had an implant
following breast cancer surgery should ask her doctor whether a
mammogram is still necessary.) However, the woman should inform the
technologist and radiologist beforehand and make sure they are
experienced in x-raying patients with breast implants.
Because silicone implants are not transparent on x-ray, they can
block a clear view of the tissues behind them. This is especially
true if the implant has been placed in front of, rather than
beneath, the chest muscles.
Experienced technologists and radiologists know how to take
special care when compressing the breasts to avoid the danger of
rupturing the implant. They can also use special techniques to
detect abnormalities, sliding the implant backward against the
chest wall, and pulling the breast tissue over and in front of it.
Interpreting the mammogram can also be difficult, especially if
scar tissue has formed around the implant or if silicone has leaked
into nearby breast tissues.