Breast Implants, Cancer Tumors & Mammogram Alternatives

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The Doctors: Breast Surgeon Vs Cosmetic Surgeon

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon teamed up with Breast Surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk to tackle the audience’s biggest breast questions from every angle.

What Causes Hard Nipples?

A Twitter user asked The Doctors why her nipples are always hard. Dr. Kristi explained that there is a lot of anatomy in the nipples, including more than a dozen milk ducts. There is also musculature that reacts involuntarily to stimuli such as temperature, stimulation, pain, and chafing.

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The Drs: Mammograms & Alternatives

Learn how Mammograms detect cancer, the effects of breast implants, and alternative procedures.

Dr. Kristi said that activity and chafing can cause nipples to be hard. You could try a chafing cream to see if that helps with constant nipple hardness.

Breast Augmentation Nipple Sensitivity

Caroline in Atlanta emailed to ask Dr. Ordon about a rumor she heard. She wants to know if it’s true that she would have decreased nipple sensitivity as a result of Breast Augmentation.

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Dr. Andrew said this is true. He explained that the largest Nipple Sensory Nerve is in the path of a typical Breast Implant. Your surgeon could prevent it by using an alternate surgical method to do the implant. A second alternative involves doing the procedure through the armpit.

“Avoiding that [muscle] probably will give you a higher chance,” Dr. Andrew said. He reported that 5-9% of patients lose sensation in the first three years after implants. 10% of patients will lose their sensitivity after five years.

Nerve endings will become Hypersensitive as feeling returns, but that condition resolves itself in a matter of months.

Do Breast Implants Make It Harder To Find Tumors?

Could Breast Implants make it harder for Mammograms to detect breast cancer? According to breast surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk, the answer is yes.

“When you have an implant and get a mammogram, the mammogram will miss cancer when it’s there 20-30% of the time,” she said, explaining that the implant obstructs the ability to compress the breast tissue for examination.

The Doctors: Mammogram Alternatives

“The national average of compression for no implant is 4.5 cm, and with an implant is 7 cm,” she said. “This level of thickness just causes too much overlap to find these small tumors.”

Patients with implants can request a second set of mammograms, in which the implant is pushed back and the breast tissue is pulled forward for a better look.

Other alternatives include Whole Breast Screening Ultrasound or Breast MRI, but these probably aren’t covered under insurance if your implants were an elective procedure. But she said these are worth the investment to ensure your breasts are cancer free.

Get a Mammogram Before Breast Implants

Janet in Dallas wrote to ask if women are required to undergo a Mammogram before Breast Implant Surgery. If not, she wondered if Plastic Surgeons could discover tumors in the breast during a procedure.

Dr. Andrew said that it’s not required, but it is recommended that patients get a Mammogram first. He also said when he is doing the surgery, he will have a great opportunity to thoroughly examine the breast for a variety of issues, such as cysts or fibroids.

He said that he makes sure to biopsy any unexpected findings. Dr. Kristi echoed the recommendation to get a Mammogram prior to surgery.

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