Women of all ages are encouraged to perform a monthly self-examination of the breasts in order to detect any lumps or changes in the breast tissue. A monthly self-exam can help you detect possible breast cancer before your annual gynecological check up or mammogram. Women with breast implants should still perform a monthly self exam, though there are a few things to keep in mind. In fact, the breast implants may make a self exam easier because you wont be pushing against the lumps of your ribs, but against the flat surface of the implant.
After your breasts have healed from the surgery, have the surgeon show you where your breast tissue ends and the implant begins. This will help you distinguish between a lump or irregularity in your own tissue, and the breast implant itself. Your surgeon will also show you the appropriate amount of pressure to use during the exam.
Lie down flat to perform the breast exam. The breast tissue thins and spreads over the chest wall in this position, making it easier to feel irregularities and to feel the difference between the breast implant and breast tissue.
When you perform the exam, use three fingers and examine the entire breast with slow, circular motions. Press lightly but firmly under the edges of the implants to examine the breast tissue closest to your ribcage. However, don’t use too much pressure near the implants or there could be a risk of causing a leak.
When you stand up, check the placement of the nipples and the appearance of the breasts both with your hands above your head and by your side. This will help you detect changes in the breast and it can also help you determine if there are issues with the breast implants (deflating, puckering, etc.).
If you do notice any lumps or irregularities, be sure your doctor and mammogram technician know about your implants when you go in to have them examined. This will help the doctor avoid damaging the implants during a biopsy or a mammogram.
This breast self-examination should be performed every month, beginning at the age of 20. Try to schedule the exam for a few days after your period, so your breasts wont be swollen or painful to the touch. Do the exam at the same time each month so regular breast changes that occur during the menstrual cycle dont interfere with the examination.
If you have any questions about breast augmentation in Northern Virginia, breast self-exams and breast implants, or want to schedule a consultation, click here or call us at (703) 574-2588.