A Mammogram is an examination of the breast, using X-ray, in order to detect tumors before they can be felt. Mammography creates detailed images of the breast using low dose X-ray and a system that is utilized specifically for imaging the breasts. Mammograms are performed as a standard procedure to determine the possibility of abnormalities. Mammography is a key factor in the early detection of breast cancer. A Mammogram is like a fingerprint. Every woman is different and no two Mammograms are alike. The breast is made of fat, glands, and fibrous tissue. Breast masses (including benign and cancerous lesions) emerge as white regions, while fat emerges as black regions on the Mammogram. Glands and connective tissue also emerge as white regions. Our radiologists determine and study any changes in Mammograms by comparison with previous studies.
Women's Imaging Center offers two types of Mammography: Digital and Analog. Digital Mammography allows our radiologists to record your Mammogram digitally on a computer screen, with better visualization than traditional Analog (film) Mammography. Analog Mammography produces images onto standard X-ray film. Both digital and analog Mammograms require breast compressions during the exam. Breast compression is necessary to maximize accuracy. Our radiologists at Women's Imaging Center recommend digital Mammography because of better visualization and lower radiation doses. You do have a choice between digital and analog Mammography. The cost of a Digital Mammogram is slightly more expensive because of the state-of-the-art equipment that is used. If you have questions about which type of Mammogram is right for you, contact our scheduling line at (800) 794-XRAY.
3D mammography, or breast tomosynthesis, is an additional screening tool in the fight against breast cancer. 3D mammograms use high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices” — building what is essentially a “3-dimensional mammogram.” During the screening, the X-ray arm quickly takes a series of images resulting in a 3D image of your breast tissue in many one-millimeter layers. Radiologists can now see breast tissue detail in a way never before possible. Instead of viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue in a flat image, the doctor can examine the tissue one layer at a time revealing fine details that are no longer hidden by the tissue above and below. To read more, please visit our 3D Mammography page.
CADx or Computer-Aided Detection uses a computer to analyze Mammograms. The computer does not replace the radiologist who would read the Mammograms; it merely acts as a “second opinion”. It can alert the radiologist to take a closer look at subtle warning signs that might easily be over-looked. The use of Computer-Aided Detection is expected to reduce the number of breast cancers missed. Second Look gives you the benefits of a second opinion without any additional procedures or doctor's appointments. It is simply part of the Mammography reading process of Women's Imaging Center.
Successful treatment of breast cancer depends on early diagnosis. Mammography is a key factor in the early detection of breast cancer. The US Food and Drug Administration reports that Mammography can find 85 to 90 percent of breast cancers and can discover a lump up to two years before it can be felt. You need a Mammogram to be able to monitor any changes in your breasts that may lead to cancer.
During your Mammogram, a technologist will carefully position each breast, one at a time, on an image plate while being gently compressed with a paddle. This compression flattens the breast so that the maximum amount of tissue can be imaged and examined. The exams are usually less than 20 minutes in length.
Breast compression is necessary on both Digital and Analog Mammograms. The compression may cause some discomfort. The discomfort will only last for a brief time during the exam. If you do feel pain, do inform your technologist and they will assist in adjusting the compression.
How will I learn my results?
Our Board Certified Radiologists will study your Mammogram and promptly provide a written report to your doctor or health care provider. MD Imaging and Women's Imaging Center will also mail your results to you, written in lay terms, in the form of a letter. Please understand that in addition to your Mammogram, women need to have a clinical breast examination every year by your health care provider and practice monthly breast self-exams.
Vascular Interventional Radiology