Breast Augmentation and Breast Cancer

Dr. Ravi Somayazula Body By RaviPlastic Surgery and Aesthetics

Dr. Ravi Somayazula
Body By RaviPlastic Surgery and Aesthetics

Breast augmentation is one of the most sought after and popular procedures performed by plastic surgeons in this country. This is also one of the most common procedures performed at Body By Ravi.

Widespread use of silicone implants has only recently gained popularity over the last 10 years once again. This is because in 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed a moratorium on the use of breast implants to further investigate its potential to cause breast cancer. In 2006, that moratorium was lifted, and silicone breast implants were found to be safe and effective without increasing the incidence of breast cancer. This is why during this period most women who had breast augmentation surgery in this country had saline implants. The Europeans continued the use of silicone implants from 1996 to 2006. Based on this data, the use of silicone implants was found to be safe, and silicone breast implants were once again approved by the FDA. Three manufacturers make FDA approved breast implants: Allergan, Mentor and Sientra.

One in eight women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. It is therefore very important to consider this prior to proceeding safely with breast augmentation surgery. At Dr. Ravi’s practice, every woman is asked about a family history of breast cancer and whether she has noticed any masses or lumps in her breast. This discussion helps guide the conversation as to whether the implants can and should be placed above or below the muscle.

Depending on certain breast measurements and their goals and objectives, some women will have a better outcome with implants above the muscle than below the muscle. Women with a family history of breast cancer are better served with implants placed below the muscle. This improves cancer surveillance with mammography, because the muscle acts as a plane between the implant and the overlying breast tissue.

If a woman has a family history of breast cancer, Dr. Ravi will obtain a baseline mammogram five years prior to the age at which her mother had breast cancer. As long as the mammogram is normal, breast augmentation can be performed. In women without a family history of breast cancer, Dr. Ravi obtains a mammogram in all women who are 40 years old. As long as the mammogram is normal, breast augmentation can be performed safely.

Normal screening mammography after breast augmentation surgery should be performed at normal screening intervals as recommended by the patient’s primary care physician or OB/GYN. When it comes time for the screening mammogram, Dr. Ravi tells patients to let the radiology tech know that they have implants. This way, special compression views of the breast can be performed to displace the breast away from the implant to better image the breast.

Breast augmentation is a very safe and effective way to increase the size of the breast. There is ample evidence showing that breast augmentation surgery does not increase the risk of breast cancer. Screening mammography is very important for the early detection of breast cancer whether a patient has breast implants or not. If you are contemplating breast augmentation surgery, Dr. Ravi strongly recommends being seen by a board certified plastic surgeon who performs many cosmetic breast procedures to ensure that your breast health is a primary consideration when being considered for this procedure.