Frequently Asked Questions
What is 3D mammography?
Our new 3D breast imaging equipment, made by Hologic, is the newest technology available in mammography. 3D or tomosynthesis imaging was approved by FDA in 2011.
During a 3D mammogram the breast is compressed the same as with 2D imaging, but now the x-ray tube rotates around the breast in a 15 degree arc and takes 1mm sliced images. These images are then reconstructed allowing the radiologist to scroll through the breast tissue in layers. Abnormalities that are potentially obscured by dense breast tissue on 2D imaging can now be been seen easier with 3D imaging.
What are the benefits of 3D mammography?
3D imaging with the Genius Hologic Platform has been proven to reduce recall rates by 40% and to find invasive breast cancers 41% sooner than 2D imaging.
How should I prepare for my mammogram?
When scheduling your mammogram, try to make your appointment the week after your period. Some women have increased breast tenderness the week prior and during their menstrual cycle.
If your last mammogram was done at a different facility, bring a copy of the reports and images with you to your appointment. If you do not have your images, try to request them or give the name and location of the facility to the person scheduling your appointment. The radiologists prefer to have your prior mammogram images so they can compare and check for any changes in your breast tissue.
Do not wear deodorant, powder or lotions on your chest and underarms. You will be asked to wipe it off prior to your exam. Some deodorants have aluminum in them which can resemble micro-calcifications on mammographic images.
You will need to undress from the waist up and put a different top on. Wearing pants or shorts versus a dress makes changing easier for you.
When and how often should I get a mammogram?
We follow the American College of Radiology guidelines which recommends annual screening mammography starting at age 40. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, your doctor may advise you to have a mammogram sooner.
How long does a mammogram take?
A screening mammogram is scheduled for 30 minutes. After you are changed the technologist will bring you into the mammography imaging room. She will go over your history questions and explain the procedure to you.
Example of history questions: Have you ever had any breast biopsies or surgeries, do you have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, have you had any weight change in the last year? You will need to let your technologist know if you are having any breast pain, nipple discharge or if you are feeling any type of lumps in your breasts. Your history will be saved in the system and updated during your next mammogram. Your screening mammogram takes approximately 20 minutes.
How long does it take to get my results?
You should receive a letter from us regarding your results within ten days. A copy of your results is also sent to your provider. Having to request prior mammography images from a different facility will delay getting results.
If I have breast implants should I still have a mammogram?
YES. Women with breast implants should still have an annual screening mammogram.
In order to visualize as much breast tissue as possible, women with implants undergo four additional views as well as the four standard images taken during screening mammography. During the standard views, the full breast including the breast implant is positioned and minimal compression force is applied for each picture.
In the additional x-ray pictures, called Eklund views or implant displacement (ID) views, the implant is pushed back against the chest wall and compression is applied to the tissue in front. This allows better imaging of the forward most part of each breast. The implant displacement views are not as successful in women who have contractures (formation of hard scar tissue around the implants). The ID views are easiest to obtain in women whose implants are placed behind the chest muscle.
Do I need to have an order from my doctor?
Ideally, yes. This way the hospital has a physician to send your results too. A patient can write a self -order for a screening mammogram, but it is preferred to have one from your doctor's office. A diagnostic mammogram has to be ordered from your health care provider.
Do all insurance companies cover mammograms?
Most all insurance companies cover an annual screening mammogram. Some insurance companies do not cover the 3D mammogram. We recommend patients to check with their insurance company prior to your appointment.
What is breast tissue density?
Breast tissue is made of fatty (low-density tissue), and fibro-glandular (dense) tissue. Breast tissue that is primarily fatty, is easier to see through and look for abnormalities. Dense breast tissue is harder to see through and analyze.
(Image Source: aboutcancer.com
An abnormality that is within dense fibro-glandular is harder to detect compared to an abnormality in fatty tissue. 3D imaging is very beneficial for imaging dense breast tissue. It allows the radiologist to scroll through the layers of dense tissue and see more detail.
What if the Radiologist sees something on my mammogram images?
The purpose of screening mammography is to find and treat breast cancers as soon as possible. The radiologist may recommend additional imaging if he or she wants to have more information about a specific area in your breast tissue. This may include coming back for a diagnostic mammogram and/or a breast ultrasound.
During a diagnostic mammogram the technologist will do additional images on a specific area of the breast. It is not uncommon to also have a breast ultrasound done. You will have the results of your diagnostic mammogram at the end of your appointment.