What is 3D Mammography?

  • 3D Mammography is also known as Breast tomosynthesis.
  • 3D Mammography uses new technology to display breast tissue as very thin layers or slices. This creates a 3D reconstruction of the breast.
  • During the mammogram, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images in just seconds. A computer then produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter layers.
  • The radiologist is now able to view all the complexities of your breast tissue a millimeter at a time, rather than in a flat image.
  • Fine details are more clearly visible, no longer hidden by the tissue above and below.

What are the benefits of 3D Mammograms?

  • Using 3D Mammography led to a 29% increase in the detection of all breast cancers compared to using conventional mammography alone.
  • Also, a 41% increase in invasive cancers detected.
  • A 15% decrease in unnecessary recalls for false alarms.
  • 3D Mammograms help find breast cancers better in women with dense breast tissue than conventional mammograms.

Read and review the recent studies about the benefits of 3D Mammography.

2d picture3d picture

Pictured above: on the left, a picture from a 2D mammogram.  On the right, 3D breast tomosynthesis mammogram layers or “slices”.

What should I expect during my 3D Mammogram?
A 3D Mammogram is very similar to a conventional mammogram. Just as with a conventional mammogram, our technologist will position you, compress your breast under a paddle and take images from different angles. The x-ray arm of the mammography machine makes a quick arc over the breast and takes a series of breast images at a number of angles.

All of the images are viewed by our technologist at their computer workstation to ensure they have captured adequate images for review by our radiologist.  The technologist sends your breast images electronically to the radiologist, who studies them and reports results to either your physician or directly to you.

Prepare for your mammogram

Make your experience more comfortable with these tips:

  • If you haven’t started menopause, schedule your mammogram for the week after your menstrual period when your breasts are usually less tender.
  • Do not wear deodorant, powder, lotion, perfumes, or ointment underneath your arms or around the chest area. If you do, we do have wipes to remove them.  We also have deodorant for you to use after your appointment.  Deodorant, etc. may look like a breast problem on the x-ray.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit so you only have to remove your top. The technologist will give you a gown to wear.
  • Bring any questions or concerns about your breasts and address them with your technologist.

The entire mammogram procedure takes about 30 minutes. Each of your breasts will be compressed for only 20 to 30 seconds.  The compression is very important- it allows the breast tissue to spread and flatten, ensuring a clear view of the breast and reducing the amount of radiation needed to make an image.

Afterwards you may dress and resume your day!


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