The mammogram has been—and remains to be—the gold standard for breast cancer detection even with the existence of other screening methods, such as breast MRI and ultrasound. This is, in large part, due to the development of 3D mammography, which boasts a 41-percent increase in invasive breast cancer detection and a 40-percent reduction in false-positive results.
The 3D mammogram (digital breast tomosynthesis) addresses the significant limitations of the standard mammogram, among which is that it shows suspicious density variations that need to be backed by further testing to reach a reliable conclusion. Unlike a traditional mammogram on which tumors and normal (dense) breast tissue both tend to appear dense and white, a 3D mammogram yields layered and detailed images, enabling physicians to better determine the difference between a tumor and normal breast tissue. This translates into fewer false-positive results, significantly reducing the anxiety and expense associated with being called back for further testing.
Like traditional mammograms, 3D mammograms are done on an outpatient basis, and they take not more than 30 minutes. While the two types are similar procedure-wise, their key difference lies in that a 3D mammogram takes more than a hundred images of each breast. In essence, a 3D mammogram uses about the same amount of radiation in approximately the same amount of time—but with greater detail and accuracy.
If you are contemplating getting a 3D mammogram and you want to learn what to expect at your appointment, the information we’ve provided below will help set your expectations for the exam.
What Will My 3D Mammogram Appointment Be Like?
During the exam, an imaging technologist will have you undress from your waist up and put on an X-ray gown. You will then be instructed to stand in front of the mammography machine, which will be adjusted according to your height.
The technologist will then position your breast on a compression plate. Breast compression is an essential part of the procedure because it evens out breast thickness and permits the X-rays to penetrate the breast tissue, thereby decreasing blurring from your movements and minimizing the radiation dose needed to obtain optimal images. To ensure your comfort, the technologist will adjust the compression force according to your breast size, tolerance, and skin tightness.
As your breast gets compressed, the X-ray tube moves from one side of your breast onto the other in an arc to take multiple images from various angles along the way. During this time, the technologist will instruct you to take a deep breath and be very still.
When your 3D mammogram is complete, the technologist will likely have you wait until they review the quality of the images.
3D Digital Mammogram in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL
At Intercoastal Medical Group, we offer 3D digital mammography services, combining sophisticated technology with the expertise of our board-certified imaging professionals to achieve our goal to make the life-saving screening method as comfortable, convenient, and relaxing as possible while ensuring highly reliable results.
To schedule your 3D mammogram appointment, call us at (941) 365-1102. Our digital mammography services are available at our Cattleridge Imaging and Lakewood Ranch I Imaging offices.