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Mammography and breast implants

H Hayes, J Vandergrift, W C Diner
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1988, 82 (1): 1-8
Recent recommendations by the American Cancer Society have focused attention on the value of screening mammography in the detection of occult breast cancers. This has resulted in a proliferation of "walk in" and mobile mammography screening clinics and a barrage of publicity aimed at women aged 40 and over. Among these are more than a half million women who have had an augmentation mammaplasty; at least another half million are still under 40 but entering this age group incrementally. Opinion is divided as to the value of this procedure because of uncertainty as to the amount of breast tissue obscured by the implant. Calibrated planimetry was used to measure the area of the implant and the glandular portion of the breasts in six sets of mammograms. Utilizing solid geometric calculations, it was found that the percentage of glandular tissue obscured by the implant varied from 22 to 83 percent. This wide variation casts serious doubt on the reliability of routine film screen mammography in these patients.

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