Performing a breast self-exam every month is an ideal way to check whether you’re exhibiting any signs of breast cancer, and is important for the sake of receiving early treatment if you do detect any lumps in your breasts. While a breast self-exam isn’t the only way to screen yourself for signs of breast cancer, the procedure should be part of your monthly at-home routine.
If you’ve had breast augmentation surgery, you may have questions about how to do a successful breast self-exam considering you now have implants. Many women fear that their breast implants will interfere with the ability to identify certain abnormalities, but in fact, the post-augmentation breast self-exam process is actually very similar to the process you were doing prior to undergoing augmentation. At GLOW Surgical Arts, we recommend that you continue to perform your monthly breast self-exams on an ongoing basis following any type of breast surgery.
Becoming familiar with augmented breasts
Although the breast self-exam procedure following breast augmentation is similar to the procedure you followed prior to augmentation, you may need to take extra steps to familiarize yourself with your breasts and implants. First, ask your cosmetic surgeon to help you identify the edges of your implants so you can better distinguish the implants from your natural breast tissue. After you’ve identified where your implants reside, press firmly along the edges of the implants so you can feel your rib cage. Then, move your fingers around the edges of your implants to feel for lumps and other changes that may have developed in your natural breast tissue.
How to perform a breast self-exam
If you’ve never performed a breast self-exam, or need a self-exam refresher course, refer to these eight, simple steps.
- Remove your shirt and bra, and stand directly in front of a mirror.
- Visually inspect your breasts and look for any visible changes, such as lumps, rippling or puckering of the skin, scaling of the skin, and any nipple discharge that is unrelated to breastfeeding.
- Raise both of your arms up above your head, and lock your hands behind your head while pressing your chest forward. Continue to look for visible signs of breast changes.
- Place your hands on your hips, and continue looking for visible signs of breast changes and abnormalities.
- Raise one arm, and place your hand behind your head. Use the fingertips of your other hand to feel all your breast tissue, and the area between your armpit and the center of your chest. Press firmly on your breast tissue using your fingertips, and continue to move around in small circles from your armpit and all around your breast until you reach the nipple.
- Repeat step 5 on the other breast.
- Gently squeeze each of your nipples and look for signs of discharge unrelated to breastfeeding.
- Lie down flat on your back, and repeat steps 5 and 6.
Are you considering having breast augmentation or another form of breast surgery? GLOW Surgical Arts offers a variety of cosmetic surgery and minimally invasive procedures to help you look and feel beautiful. Request a consultation online, or call GLOW Surgical Arts at (650) 241-2209.