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3D Mammography

Tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, is another service we provide for screening breast tissue for possible signs of cancer. This technology is particularly useful to screen women that have dense breast tissue. A 3D mammogram complements standard 2D mammography and is performed at the same time. There is no additional compression required, and it only takes a few more seconds.

Our comfortable center environments and staff of experts will provide you with the best experience possible. Learn about what to expect below.

A 3D mammogram is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram. 

During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over your breast, taking multiple breast images.

Then, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible. The additional 3D images make it possible for a radiologist to gain a better understanding of your breast tissue during screening, significantly improving early breast cancer detection and providing the confidence to reduce the need for follow-up imaging by up to 40%.

During a typical annual screening mammogram, images are taken of each breast from many angles. Sometimes a follow-up diagnostic mammogram is needed after a screening mammogram to collect more information about your breast tissue. A diagnostic mammogram may take longer than a screening mammogram as it requires more images and different angles to rule out any abnormalities.

With conventional digital mammography, the radiologist is viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue in a one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion of normal breast tissue looking like an abnormal area. By also looking at the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, the radiologist can provide a more accurate exam. In this way, 3D mammography finds 40% more invasive cancer that may be missed with conventional 2D mammography. It also means there is less chance you would be called back later for a “second look,” because now they can see breast tissue more clearly.

  • We will call you prior to your appointment to provide specific instructions and review health and insurance information.

  • You will need to provide the name, address and phone number of any facility where you have had a prior mammogram or bring previous films. The radiologist may need your previous films for comparison in order to make an accurate assessment.

  • Notify a member of our staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.

  • Please arrive 15 minutes early to verify your registration.

3D mammography is very similar than 2D mammography you may have had in the past. 

  • The technologist will greet you and go through a few health questions.

  • You will be given a private space to remove your shirt and bra. You will receive a robe or gown to cover up.

  • The technologist will escort you to the X-ray machine specifically designed for mammograms and position you in front of the machine.

  • One at a time, your breast will be carefully positioned between the adjustable platform and clear plate and brief pressure will be applied to flatten the breast tissue in order to get the clearest pictures.

  • The entire exam typically takes about 10-15 minutes.

Specific information on when and how you will receive your results will be given to you after your exam, but generally you can expect:

  • A radiologist who specializes in breast imaging will review your mammography images and prepare a report for your provider.
  • Your provider will consider the written report in context of your overall care, and contact you about the results. The results from your mammogram will also be mailed to you within 2 weeks.
  • If additional images are recommended, you will receive a phone call from our staff within 24-48 business hours to schedule the follow-up diagnostic procedure.
  • Reminder letters will be sent to all patients for a routine annual screening mammogram.

NOTE: Annual mammograms are recommended for women beginning at age 40, according to the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI). The American Cancer Society also recommends that women have the choice to begin mammography screening at age 40. For the complete, updated ACS guidelines, click here. Then, talk with your provider to find out what's best for you.

Learn more about breast imaging in your local area or call a center near you to schedule your annual mammogram.