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What is Digital Mammography?
Digital Mammography is a completely non-invasive exam that utilizes a low dose of x-rays to produce a high-quality, detailed image of the breast and can often detect breast cancer before it can be felt. Digital images are acquired in less time and give the radiologists the ability to magnify and adjust contrast, thus reducing patient re-calls. It also allows electronic transfer of breast images, improving communication between the radiologists and referring physicians. Early detection of breast cancer through digital mammography affords greater opportunity for successful treatment.
Digital mammography provides improved visualization of the breast near the skin line, chest wall and within women with very dense breasts.
Once the mammography is complete, the images are sent through a computer aided detection software prior to being reviewed by the radiologist. This software provides the radiologist with a second look at the breast structures.
How should I prepare for a Mammogram?
- The American Cancer Society and other specialty organizations recommend that you inform your physician of any changes in your breasts or if you have any history of prior breast surgery, hormone use and family or personal history of breast cancer.
- You may want to avoid scheduling your mammogram the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time.
- Obtain prior mammograms whenever possible and bring them with you for your appointment.
Please be prepared to answer clinical questions, regarding your personal and family breast health. As an additional questionnaire screening, all DRA screening mammography procedures now includes Lifetime Risk Assessment results as developed on the American Cancer Society (ACS) website.
How is a Mammography performed?
- A technologist will position your breast onto the mammography unit and a plastic paddle with be lowered slowly to compress the breast into place.
- Breast compression is necessary to provide clearly detailed images without breathing motion while providing you with even lower dose imaging.
- The technologist will stand behind a glass shield during the x-ray and ask you to hold your breath while the image is taken.
- Routine views are top-to-bottom and an oblique side view for each breast.
- At the end of the exam, you may be asked to wait so the radiologist may review the images obtained.
- The exam takes about 15-30 minutes.
All patients of childbearing age (10 - 54) will be required to sign that there is No Chance of Pregnancy prior to an imaging exam being performed (Exception: - Ultrasound). If there is a chance of pregnancy, STAT blood work will be ordered prior to the procedure being performed to establish that there is no chance of pregnancy.