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Breast Gamma Imaging

This page includes general information about what you can expect before, during and after your exam. For more specific information about your appointment and results, please contact the local center where your appointment is scheduled.
 

About breast gamma imaging

Breast gamma imaging goes beyond a typical mammogram, MRI and ultrasound to detect cancer even in women with difficult-to-diagnose breasts. This advanced exam is an option to help get more information after a questionable mammogram. Using a specially designed camera, this exam allows for imaging with less compression than a typical digital mammogram. 

How it works

A small amount of tracing agent is injected and is absorbed by all cells in the body. The tracing agent emits invisible gamma rays that are translated into a digital image of the breast. Due to their higher metabolic activity, cancer cells absorb a greater amount of the tracing agent and are revealed as "dark spots" on the images making it easy to detect cancerous activity.

Learn more about what to expect:

  • We will call you prior to your appointment to provide you with specific instructions and review health and insurance information.
  • Please bring previous images you have had to the appointment, including ultrasound, mammography and MRI exams.
  • Please notify a member of our staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes early to verify your registration.
  • The tracing agent is administered in your arm with an I.V.
  • The technologist will position you for easiest access to the camera to achieve the best images. For most exams, you will be able to remain upright in a chair, as the detector can be placed in direct contact with the breast.
  • Patients may experience a very mild compression of the breast during the exam.
  • The gamma imaging exam typically takes about 30-40 minutes.

Our staff will give you more specific information on when and how you will receive your results. However, in general after the exam you can expect:

  • You will be able to resume normal activity almost immediately after a Gamma Imaging exam.
  • A radiologist who specializes in breast imaging will review your images. The radiologist prepares a diagnostic report to share with you and your provider.
  • A written report is given to your provider; they will consider this information in context of your overall care and talk with you about the results.