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Are MRIs necessary after mastectomy

dontwantthis Member Posts: 17


I had a bilateral mastectomy after my 2nd breast cancer (same breast). I understand that even after a mastectomy there is a small chance of a reoccurence (very frightening (, so I am wondering if you get MRI's after your mastectomy?


  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited September 2021

    I know some have scans after mastectomy. I think most do not have any scans. I think insurance is not interested in paying for scans after mastectomy b/c recurrence risk is lower. .... I think some providers don't think it's necessary unless something suspicious arises as well. I had BMX and no scans. I only meet with my onc every 6 months for manual exam. And even at that it was one firm pat on my armpit and one firm pat on my left side and that was it! I"m sure she eyeballed my scar line.... If there's anything suspicious then I'm sure they would schedule either an ultrasound or MRI depending on the concern.

  • dontwantthis
    dontwantthis Member Posts: 17
    edited September 2021

    I have heard it is possible to do mammograms after a mastectomy (and implants), not sure why they wouldn't at least do that.

    When I was finished treatment from my 1st cancer, and released from my Oncologist care, she said to me, I will not need to see you again. 13 years later I was back, so although it is a low risk of reoccurence, I am very anxious and would like to have more then a few pats on my breast, lymph nodes and a look at my scars, to be sure.

    We all know the fear of the unknown.


  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,149
    edited September 2021

    After the first time around there was no scan of any type. I still had my port, so would see MO every 3 months, and get it flushed. Was ok for 7 years, then I found a pea size lump on the other side. That got a ct with contrast, it lit up.

    No scans of any kind since. Unless you have symptoms somewhere, they don’t do scans.

    I had bmx first, so can’t speak to mammograms.

  • SuQu31
    SuQu31 Member Posts: 73
    edited September 2021

    I have an annual mammogram, on both sides, cancer and non-cancer. I had a close margin on the skin side and had a re-excision, but my surgeon and I agreed it is reasonable to keep a close eye on things and hope to find any recurrence before it becomes invasive. I believe the plan is that I will have the mammograms for five years.

    Every case is so different, but I think a mammogram is a reasonable compromise between no scans and MRIs, which are quite expensive. I would talk to my doctor about my concerns.

  • damnrecurrence
    damnrecurrence Member Posts: 2
    edited April 2022

    I had a lumpectomy (right) and radiation in 2012 for invasive ductal BC, then in Fall 2019 a mastectomy for a recurrence in the same area, with lat dorsi flap reconstruction. Clear margins, stage 1 both times. Surgeon was not going to order an MRI for right breast but decided I should have a single MRI for safety's sake in Fall 2020 and because of breast density. One small scar area that hadn't smoothed out completely turned out to be malignant. Have not been able to have surgery since because it is in my chest wall and skin and could not be controlled adequately in time for surgery and radiation. After many different treatments -- hormonal, targeted, chemo -- it is still growing and as of 2 weeks ago a new BC tumor biopsied in left armpit. So yes, although this is a late response to the question, please do try and get a followup MRI within 6 months of a mastectomy. (My insurance paid for it.)

  • 1982m
    1982m Member Posts: 224
    edited April 2022

    damn-I'm sorry to read you have had another recurrence. That's all I wanted to say.

    Thanks for sharing. I know one of the reasons I chose to do a lumpectomy is bc they would keep doing yearly MRI's. I was told they wouldn't if Ihad a double mastectomy.

    I hope you find a treatment that works well for you! It sounds like you have been through the ringer….

  • dontwantthis
    dontwantthis Member Posts: 17
    edited May 2022

    Thanks everyone for your responses. I did enc up having a mammogram and ultrasound because we found a small lump, turned out to be surgical clips.

    I am having a lot of pain in my chest wall on my cancer side (not sure if that is normal), and I feel a lump, but I assume it would have shown up on the tests.

    I'm also having some bad hip pain, who knows what that is, kind of scared to go for tests anymore.

    The fear apparently never ends.

    Good luck to all of you.