A self breast exam is designed to identify signs of breast cancer early on. According to the American Cancer Society, patients who catch breast cancer in the first stage have a 100% survival rate, versus 22% in Stage IV. Early detection is critical to long-term survival and remission, and conducting a breast exam is one of the easiest and cheapest (it’s free) ways to monitor your breast health. In this article, we will discuss the importance of self breast exams after breast augmentation so you can properly care for your new body.
Should I Still Do Monthly Self Breast Exams After Breast Augmentation?
It is important to always perform a monthly self breast exam, with or without breast implants. I recommend performing the exam at the same time every month, since your body will change from week to week. Avoid doing this during and near menstruation, since breasts are more sensitive and variable at that time. If you have a predictable cycle, you can do your self-exams on the same date (15th, 27th, etc.) each month to stay consistent.
How Do I Perform A Self Breast Exam With Implants?
Checking your breasts after breast augmentation surgery is not any different than checking them without implants. Your goal is to feel your breasts for lumps, firmness, or other unusual elements that may indicate the possibility of breast cancer.
Self Breast Exam Instructions
- When performing the exam, lie down and place your left hand behind your head.
- Use your right hand to examine your left breast. Place the finger pads of your index and middle finger on your breast.
- Envision your breast to be a target bullseye space. Starting at the nipple, slide your fingers in a small circle around your areola. Increase the size of your circles with each pass until you get to the outermost areas of your breast.
- Feel for unusual lumps or firmness. Compare that area to your other breast.
- At completion of the exam, use your finger to feel under your armpit and all the way down the outer side of your pectoralis muscle.
NOTE: For a visual diagram of self breast exams, please review this PDF. If you are not sure about a texture you felt in your exam, you can schedule an appointment with your doctor for an office examination. This may include a mammogram or other screen, just to make sure your breasts are healthy. Monthly self exams are equally important after breast enhancement as they are without implants, so make an effort to monitor your breasts once a month. This will make a world of difference in your long-term health. Remember, Dr. Mariam Awada is a leading specialist for breast augmentation in Michigan and can answer all of your questions.