Breast Cancer Screening

From Pregnancy to Breast Implants: Mammogram Information You Need To Know

September 6, 2023

When you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have implants, thinking about getting a mammogram might make you think: “Hmm? Is that OK to do?” The short answer is YES.1-6 You shouldn’t put off your annual exam for any of those situations.

As with anything, though, risks are always possible. We’re here to help you think about your mammograms and respond to those “hmm?” moments with tips and facts! From pregnancy to implants, we’ve rounded up information from trusted sources that may answer your questions.

Mammograms With Breast Implants

First thing first: Ask your facility if they have experience screening women with breast implants. This way, you’ll know you’re in good hands. When you go in for the exam, let your mammogram tech know you have implants! This is essential. They will position your breasts in the most efficient, safe way to get a good image.

The American Cancer Society on what to expect during your exam1:

  1. “To help the doctor see as much breast tissue as possible, women with implants have four extra pictures done (two on each breast) and the four standard pictures taken during a screening mammogram.”
  2. “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 so the doctor can get a better look at the breast tissue.”

Wondering if the squeezing and “smooshing” of your breasts can cause an implant to rupture? A recent review by Annals of Plastic Surgery found that it’s extremely rare for that to happen during a mammogram. Why? “The technologist moves the implant prior to taking the implant-displaced views, meaning breast tissue is what’s compressed—not the implant.”2

To put your mind a little more at ease: “‘If we can find and treat breast cancer early, it’s almost always curable,’ says [Dr. Rajul Mehta, breast radiologist at Houston Methodist] ‘And the only way we can do that is if you come in for your annual screening mammogram. Having breast implants doesn’t change that.’”2

Mammograms While Breastfeeding

The first question you might have if you’re a breastfeeding mother: Will screening affect my breast milk? We have good news. Breastmilk is completely unaffected by mammograms, and you can continue to nurse as soon as you’re done with the exam!3 No “pump and dump” required.4

Three tips for nursing mamas:

  1. Talk with your healthcare provider and request a technician and radiologist experienced in giving and reading mammograms to people who breastfeed.5
  2. Breastfeeding or pumping as much as possible before your mammogram can make the experience more comfortable.5
  3. Bring a spouse or friend to care for your child while you are in the exam room.3

If you have more questions, the United States Lactation Consultant Association is here for you: check out their article. Or you can learn more from another great resource—including how to check yourself for lumps when you’re breastfeeding.

Mammograms For Pregnant Women

Radiation exposure might concern you if you’re an expecting mother. According to the American Cancer Society: “The amount of radiation needed for a mammogram is small, and it’s focused on the breasts, so most of it doesn’t reach other parts of the body. A lead shield is placed over the lower part of the belly to help keep radiation from reaching the womb.”6

Another interesting fact: “Overall, people incur more radiation living at altitude or taking a cross-country plane flight than undergoing a mammogram.”4

Important things to keep in mind:
Screening or diagnostic mammograms (like the Genius® exam) during pregnancy and lactation are safe.4
Persistent bloody discharge from the breast during pregnancy or lactation should be evaluated with imaging.4
Breast cancer during pregnancy isn’t expected. But if you find a lump or notice any changes in your breasts that concern you, tell your doctor or nurse immediately.6

Early Detection Can Save Your Life

When you get down to it, screening for breast cancer can increase your chances of finding the disease earlier. Whether you have implants or not, are nursing or not, or you’re pregnant or not: all women of appropriate screening age need to schedule their annual mammograms. We can help you get started here.


The content in this piece is for information purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice. Please contact your medical professional for specific advice regarding your health and treatment. This information may be relevant in the U.S. and other markets and is not intended as a product solicitation or promotion where such activities are prohibited. Because Hologic materials are distributed through websites, eBroadcasts, and tradeshows, it is not always possible to control where such materials appear. For specific information on what products may be available in a particular country, please write to womenshealth@hologic.com.
The Genius® 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™ exam (a.k.a. Genius® exam) is acquired on the Hologic® 3D Mammography™ system and consists of a 2D and 3D image set, where the 2D image can be either an acquired 2D image or a 2D image generated from the 3D image set. The Genius exam is only available on the Hologic 3D Mammography system. Please consult your physician for a complete list of benefits and risks associated with mammography.
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