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3D Mammography Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there a need for tomosynthesis breast exams? What are the benefits?

With conventional digital mammography, the radiologist is viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue in 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 missed with conventional 2D mammography.  It also means there is less chance your doctor will call you back later for a “second look,” because now they can see breast tissue more clearly.

What is the difference between a screening and diagnostic mammogram?

A screening mammogram is your annual mammogram that is done every year.  Sometimes the radiologist may ask you to come back for follow-up images which is called a diagnostic mammogram to rule out an unclear area in the breast or if there is a breast complaint that needs to be evaluated.

What should I expect during the 3D mammography exam?

3D mammography complements standard 2D mammography and is performed at the same time with the same system.  There is no additional compression required, and it only takes a few more seconds longer for each view.

Is there more radiation dose?

Very low X-ray energy is used during the exam, just about the same amount as a traditional mammogram done on film.

Who can have a 3D mammography exam?

It is approved for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram, in both the screening and diagnostic settings.

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