Can Old Breast Implants Rupture From Having A Mammogram?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, I have had breast implants in place now for over 24 years. They were originally placed in 1987 above the muscle and are silicone implants. I am scheduled to have a mammogram at the end of the month and am afraid the the mammogram might rupture my implants because they are so old.  Do you think I should get a mammogram or is an ultrasound just as good?

A: The premise of your question is a little concerning. It suggests that either you have never had a mammogram or have not had one for many years. It would be very important that you get breast cancer screening and, no, an ultrasound is not a good substitute for a mammogram. It is not nearly as sensitive for breast cancer  detection. If you don’t want to get a mammogram, then you need to get an MRI. I would have no concerns, however, about getting a mammogram as there is no evidence that they increase the risk of breast implant rupture. With the age of your implants, there is a very good chance that you have silent rupture in one or both of them already. The time is on hand to consider replacing your breast implants anyway so getting a mammogram will help answer the dual concerns about implant rupture and for breast cancer detection.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana