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Are Breast Implants a Problem if You're Getting a Mammogram?

Baptist Health Miami Cancer Institute

Many women understand the importance of keeping up with their annual mammograms. But a frequent question – especially here in South Florida – is if breast implants present a problem when getting a mammogram.

The answer is no, says Ariane Martinez, M.D., a diagnostic radiologist with Baptist Health Miami Cancer Institute. She says that having implants requires the same preventative screening recommendations as those without implants.



Ariane Martinez, M.D., diagnostic radiologist with Baptist Health Miami Cancer Institute


“The recommendation is for women to begin annual screening mammograms starting at age 40,” Dr. Martinez says, adding that women should possibly start sooner if they are at a higher risk due to genetic mutations or family history.


How many cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2024?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, except for skin cancers, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). It accounts for about 30 percent of all new female cancers diagnosed each year. The ACS estimates that this year in the U.S. there will be: 


• About 310,720 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. 

• About 56,500 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) will be diagnosed.  

• About 42,250 women will die from breast cancer.


Christina McDonald, mammography clinical specialist for Baptist Outpatient Services, oversees support and education for mammography technologists at Baptist Health outpatient diagnostic imaging centers throughout South Florida. She says women who have breast implants “absolutely can and should” get regular mammograms.


What’s having a mammogram like when you have breast implants?

“Mammography is the gold standard for early detection,” Ms. McDonald says. “Our mammography technologists are highly trained in implant imaging, which consists of eight views, rather than the usual four views for women without implants.” 


The technologist starts with two views of the entire breast including the implant, Ms. McDonald explains. “We use very minimal compression so there should be no pain or discomfort. The technologist then gently separates the breast tissue away from the front of the implant and takes two more views of each breast.”


Given that it requires twice as many images, Dr. Martinez and Ms. McDonald both recommend that women inform the scheduling staff of their mammogram that they have breast implants. “It’s not because there’s any risk involved to you or your implants. It’s just that your appointment will be given more time to allow for the additional images needed,” she says.


Does it matter when and where you do your monthly breast-self exam?

Ms. McDonald says it’s important for women to consistently do a self-breast exam every month starting at age 20.


“If you’re doing it regularly, you’ll get used to your lumps and bumps (the normal feeling of breast tissue) and you’ll know if there is a new change,” she says, adding that any visible change in the appearance of your breast or any new lump feeling should be brought to the attention of your doctor immediately.


“You should always perform your exam when you’re between your menstrual cycle, meaning two weeks following the onset of your period,” Ms. McDonald advises. “You can do it lying down or in the shower or wherever is most comfortable for you, but you should be consistent and use the same position each month when performing your self-breast exam.”


Dr. Martinez urges patients with breast implants continue doing their monthly self-breast exams.


“Aside from any new lumps or skin changes, it is important for patients to notice any changes in size, which could signal a possible fluid collection around the implant,” she notes. “Some breast cancers, however, cannot be detected through self-breast exams, which is why annual mammogram remains the gold standard”.


Dr. Martinez says there are adjunct screening tools, too, if circumstances warrant. However, having implants alone is not an indication for having additional screening tests.


Miami Cancer Institute is here to support you through every stage of your breast health journey, beginning with getting your mammogram at any of our diagnostic imaging locations. Request a mammogram today by visiting or through the Baptist Health PineApp. Or call 833-638-4795.

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