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Lack of appropriate imaging before breast augmentation can have serious patient consequences

Advice on preoperative imaging for different groups of women is now available

Breast augmentation has become increasingly popular in recent years, with 316 848 procedures reported in the United States in 2011.1 While there is a lack of accessible data about breast augmentation procedures in Australia, the breast surgical oncology community has ongoing concerns about the potential for breast implants to deter women from participating in appropriate symptom assessment or routine screening and to impair early detection of breast cancer.2

The situation is complicated by a lack of high-level evidence about health outcomes for women with implants who subsequently develop breast cancer. In an observational study of 129 women who had undergone breast augmentation and 3953 women who had not, those who had undergone augmentation presented more frequently with palpable lesions, invasive tumours and axillary nodal metastases, and were more likely to have a false-negative mammogram result. However, overall there was no significant difference in stage of disease, tumour size, recurrence rates or survival between the two groups.3 It was postulated that breast implants…