Do You Need a Mammogram before Breast Surgery?

Mammograms & Breast Surgery

If you are planning to undergo an elective breast surgery such as breast augmentation, breast reduction or breast lift, expect to make some pre-surgery preparations as instructed by your surgeon. For example, you must stop smoking, avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs and generally keep yourself in optimal physical shape. You may also be asked to get a blood test.

Depending on your age and your personal and family medical history, you may or may not be asked to get a mammogram before breast surgery. Although every plastic surgeon has his or her own opinion, many agree that mammograms should only be ordered in specific circumstances.

Read on as Dr. Joshua Greenwald of New York shares what the American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends about mammograms before breast surgery.

When to Order Mammograms

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ position is to test only when necessary. In a special report published in 2014, they stated that unless there was a specific concern or risk factor, women undergoing elective breast surgery should not have additional screening beyond existing guidelines.

Average Risk

According to the American Cancer Society, women at an average risk of breast cancer should follow these guidelines:

  • Ages 40 to 44: optional mammograms annually
  • Ages 45 to 54: mammograms annually
  • Ages 55 and older: mammograms every other year or optional yearly mammograms

“Average risk” is defined as not having a personal history of breast cancer, strong family history of breast cancer or genetic mutation known to increase the risk of breast cancer (e.g., BRCA gene), and not having had chest radiation therapy before the age of 30.

High Risk

The ACS recommends women at a high risk of breast cancer have annual mammograms and MRIs. “High risk” is defined as having:

  • A strong family history of breast cancer
  • A genetic mutation like BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • A first-degree relative with a genetic mutation
  • Exposure to radiation in the chest, neck or armpit area earlier in life
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes

The Bottom Line

Unless you are over the age of 40 or are at a high risk of breast cancer, you probably do not need to get a mammogram prior to breast surgery. However, you should discuss mammography screening with your plastic surgeon during consultation to determine whether it is right for you.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Greenwald to discuss breast augmentation, breast reduction or breast lift, please contact our practice today.

Dr. Joshua Greenwald is a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City who studied and trained at prestigious educational institutions including Columbia University, Emory University, and New York University School of Medicine. His keen aesthetic eye and refined surgical techniques have led him to be a top choice for cosmetic face, breast, and body procedures in NYC. His exceptional patient care has earned him the distinction of “Top Doc” by both Westchester Magazine and Castle & Connolly for over 10 years running. Dr. Greenwald is an active member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Medical Association, and the Westchester County Medical Society.