What is a mammogram?
Mammography uses a low-dose x-ray system to see inside breast tissue. A mammogram is used to detect and evaluate changes in your breast tissue that could be indicators of conditions such as breast cancer. With digital mammography, x-ray film is replaced by technology that converts x-rays into digital images. Those images are then transferred to a computer for review by a radiologist.
What will happen during the exam?
The technologist will call you in to a private section of the office. They will then bring you in to a mammography suite and position your breast on the detector of the mammography machine. A special device will then gently compress (or flatten) your breast to spread the tissue and produce a more uniform thickness. You may feel a sensation of pressure or tightness as the breast is being compressed. Once the technologist takes x-rays of your breast in different positions, the procedure is repeated from the other breast. The entire procedure usually takes about 30 minutes.
What are the risks and benefits?
Mammography is a safe procedure with minimal exposure to radiation. The benefits of frequent mammograms, especially in women over age 40, can help reduce the number of deaths caused by breast cancer through early detection.
How should I prepare for my test?
We ask that our patients refrain from wearing deodorant or powder the day of the exam as such products leave a residue on the machine that may interfere with the images. No dietary restrictions exist. We also suggest that women consider scheduling the exam with their menstrual cycle in mind to avoid times of breast tenderness.
Any special instructions for after my test?
If you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant, please discuss this procedure with your physician before making your appointment.
What is 3D mammography and how does it work?
3D mammography, also called tomosynthesis, is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional digital mammogram.
3D mammography works by capturing multiple slices (images) of the breast from several angles, creating a layered 3D breast image. A radiologist then reviews the breast images, one slice at a time, helping to make a more accurate diagnosis.
What is the difference between a screening mammogram and diagnostic mammogram?
A screening mammogram should be done every year. A diagnostic mammogram is when you have a lump, area of concern, or a complaint that needs to be evaluated. It can also be when a radiologist would like follow up on an area from a screening or prior exam. This diagnostic mammogram is designed to rule out an unclear area of the breast. 3D mammography may be utilized for diagnostic mammograms.
When will I get my results?
For diagnostic mammograms, you will receive the results on the same day as your appointment. For screening mammograms, your doctor will receive the results within 24 hours. They will also be mailed to you, which generally takes 4-5 days. Results are also available on MyCare.
Is there more radiation with a 3D Mammography exam?
Very little x-ray dose is used during 3D mammography, about the same dosage as a standard digital mammogram and lower dosage than a traditional film mammogram. The total patient dose is well within the FDA safety standards for mammography. It is approximately 1/10th the dose an individual receives in their natural environment in a year.
What are the benefits of 3D mammography?
By looking at the breast tissue in one-millimeter slices, the radiologist can provide a more accurate exam. Several large studies have shown that 3D mammography detects 41% more breast cancers and reduces the chance that you will need to be called back for additional views by up to 40%.
What should I expect during the 3D mammography exam?
3D mammography complements standard digital mammography and can be performed at the same time. No additional compression is required and it takes a few seconds longer for each view.