The short answer is that a mammogram damaging a breast implant is very unlikely. Breast implants (both saline and silicone) are highly durable. They are designed to last many, many years after implantation regardless of a woman’s activities. Everyday life carries with it the occasional injury, which can include a fall while hiking or skiing or being accidentally bumped – occasionally even hard. Breast implants are designed to withstand all of these activities.
Breast Implants: Designed for Real Life
Generally, if a woman can tolerate some type of discomfort to her breast, then the implant is more than able to tolerate the pressure, force or manipulation responsible for causing that discomfort. A woman should never need to compromise her activities to “protect” a breast implant.
In my career of over 20 years, I have seen only two traumatically ruptured implants. One was caused by a major car accident that crushed the woman’s chest and put her in the ICU with other major injuries, and the second woman had fallen off of a ladder and struck her chest on an object onto which she had fallen. She also had a broken ankle with exposed bone. In both these cases, the women had sustained major trauma with significant injuries aside from their ruptured implants.
Why Mammograms Matter
Women with breast implants should never miss a recommended mammogram for fear of damaging the implant. Mammograms are at times uncomfortable procedures (but important screening tests) that compress the breasts in order the accurately view the breast tissue and search for the possibility of breast cancer. In particular the breast tissue is compressed, usually in front of the implant, so the implant is not subjected to the full force of the compression. Even if it were, there should be very little risk of rupture. Very old breast implants might be at a slightly higher risk due to the implant age, but these implants would probably have developed a spontaneous leak in the near future in any event.