What is a Mammogram?
Mammography is the gold standard for breast imaging. It is a low-dose X-ray image of your breasts used to detect breast cancer. During the mammogram, your breasts are compressed between two plates to help spread out the breast tissue. Then an X-ray takes black-and-white images of your breasts that will be analyzed by the radiologist for abnormalities and assessed for changes from previous exams.
What are the Types of Mammograms?
Mammography is used as a screening tool to detect small cancers in a patient who has no signs or symptoms.
- A screening mammogram does not require a referral from your doctor’s office.
- Same day results are available when your appointment is made Monday-Friday 9-11am and 1-3pm. Please allow 1-1 ½ hours if you wish to wait for your results on the day of your appointment. Please note that same day results are not currently available due to safety concerns related to the pandemic.
Mammography is also used for diagnostic purposes to diagnose breast disease in a patient who presents with suspicious breast changes, such as a new lump, pain, skin changes or nipple discharge.
- This diagnostic exam requires a referral from your doctor’s office.
- All patients having a diagnostic mammogram are given results on the day of their exam.
How Long Will My Mammogram Take?
The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. The actual breast compression only lasts a few seconds.
What is Tomosynthesis (3D) Mammography?
The latest advancement in breast imaging technology is tomosynthesis or 3-D mammography, which improves the accuracy of breast cancer screening.
Tomosynthesis is used in conjunction with a traditional 2-D mammogram, displaying images in stacks of thin slices, allowing our radiologists to view breast tissue millimeters at a time. This makes the tissue more visible and reduces the incidence of further testing to rule out abnormalities. Tomosynthesis also helps to see through dense breast tissue, and can aid in finding breast cancers early, when they are more treatable.
If you wish to receive the 3D mammography, please call your insurance company prior to your appointment to verify they cover this imaging.
When Should I Have a Mammogram?
The American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging recommend women start getting annual mammograms at the age of 40 and continue as long as they are in good health.
What Happens if I Do Not Wait for My Results and I Need More Imaging?
Getting called back after a screening mammogram is fairly common and does not mean you have breast cancer. Less than 1 in 10 women called back for more tests are found to have cancer. Many times, the radiologist would just like additional imaging (mammogram or ultrasound) to better examine an area of concern.
Our facility will contact you by phone if the radiologist determines that more imaging is necessary. We will work with you to schedule this second appointment at your convenience.
Computer Aided Detection (CAD) Software Used by the Radiologists
Computer software system that searches for abnormal areas on a mammogram that may indicate the presence of cancer. The CAD system highlights these areas on the mammogram images, alerting the radiologist to the need for further analysis. It has been described as a “spell check” for mammograms, pointing out areas that could be a problem, but it is up to the radiologist to decide if the area truly needs more attention.
What if I Have More Questions?
Feel free to call us any time at 585-396-6651. We would be happy to answer any questions you have.