One of the most common concerns for women after breast augmentation is whether or not they will be able to still perform their monthly breast self-exams. Many fear that their implants will interfere with their ability to feel any abnormalities. Rest assured that not only can you still perform your breast self-examination each month, but that it really isn’t that much different from the self-exams you were doing before augmentation. Your monthly breast self-exams are an important part of keeping yourself healthy, and we urge you to continue doing them even after breast augmentation.
Special considerations for breast self-exams after augmentation Although a breast self-exam after breast augmentation is quite similar to your pre-augmentation self-exam, there are a few additional guidelines you should follow. First, have your surgeon at Monarch Plastic Surgery help you identify the edges of your implants and distinguish between the implant and your natural breast tissue. Once you know what the margin of your implant feels like and where it sits, firmly press along this edge so that you can feel the rib cage beneath -- then, move your fingers around the edge of the implant. Feel around for any lumps and changes in your natural breast tissue. The remainder of your monthly breast self-exam is the same as your pre-augmentation exam.
Six easy steps to performing a monthly breast self-examination
If you aren’t quite sure how to perform a monthly breast self-examination, use these six easy steps as a guide:
- Take off your top and bra, stand in front of your mirror, and visually look at your breasts and chest. Look for any signs of change such as visible lumps, puckering or rippling of the skin, scaling of the skin, or discharge of any kind not related to breastfeeding.
- Raise both arms up and lock your hands behind your head, pressing your chest forward. Again, look for any signs of abnormalities and changes in breast shape or size.
- Place your hands on your hips and look for visible signs of changes in the breasts, including changes to shape or size.
- Raise one arm and place your hand behind your head. With your other hand, use your fingertips to feel the entire tissue of the breast from the top of the chest to below the breast, and from the armpit to the center of the chest. Press firmly using your fingertips and move in small circles from the armpit and around the breast, making smaller and smaller circles all the way around the breast until you reach the nipple. Repeat the same exam on the other breast. This may be done in front of the mirror or in the shower.
- Gently squeeze the nipple and look for any signs of discharge. Repeat on the other breast.
- Lie down flat on your back and repeat steps 4 and 5 on each breast. It is important to perform a breast self-examination in both standing and laying-down positions as you may feel different aspects of the breast tissue in each position.
If you feel any abnormality of any kind, don’t hesitate to contact your surgeon at Monarch Plastic Surgery or your primary care physician. Your breast health is an important part of your overall health, and no concern is too small. Perform your monthly breast self-exam around the same time every month, preferably a few days after your menstrual period. For more information about performing your breast self-exam, call Monarch Plastic Surgery today at (913) 663-3838 or (816) 436-3262 to schedule an appointment.