Breast cancer will affect an average of one in eight women sometime in their lifetime. It is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Numerous studies prove that early detection is a vital component in the successful treatment of breast cancer.
Mammograms play a central part in the early detection of breast cancer because they can detect changes in the breast that may be early signs of cancer but are too small or subtle to be felt. The use of mammography has greatly enhanced the ability to detect breast cancers at earlier stages.
Because our primary goal has always been to deliver the highest quality care to our patients, we are excited to offer 3D mammography to our women's health diagnostic services.
What is 3D Mammography?
3D mammography, also known as tomosynthesis mammography, is a relatively new breast imaging procedure that uses low-dose X-rays to capture multiple images of the breast, at all different angles. The images are then brought together to create a crystal-clear 3D reconstruction of the breast. The radiologist is then able to review the reconstruction, one slide at a time, almost like turning pages in a book. This makes it easier for doctors to see if there's anything to be concerned about.
How Does a 3D Exam Compare to a 2D Exam?
Both, 2D mammograms and 3D mammograms use X-rays to produce images of breast tissue in order to detect lumps, tumors or other abnormalities. Specifically, 2D mammograms provide doctors with a 2D image to evaluate the breast. Only two images, a side-to-side view and a top-to-bottom view, of each breast is taken. This can be limiting due to overlapping layers of tissue, which can sometimes produce unclear results or false alarms.
On the other hand, 3D mammography can produce more detailed images of breast tissue. 3D mammography produces multiple X-ray images of the breasts from different angles to create a 3D rendering of internal breast tissue. This allows radiologists to view the breast in 1-millimeter 'slices' rather than just the full thickness from the top and from the side. This ultimately allows your doctor to better evaluate your breasts layer by layer.
What are the Benefits of 3D Mammography?
- It provides greater accuracy for women across a variety of ages and breast densities; it's the only mammogram FDA approved as superior for women with dense breasts.
- 3D mammography may be particularly effective for women with dense breast tissue or those at high risk for developing breast cancer.
- Detects 20-65% more invasive breast cancer compared to 2D mammography alone.
- Reduces callbacks by up to 40% compared to 2D mammography alone.
How do I Prepare for a Mammogram?
- Do not wear deodorant, perfume, lotion or powder under your arm or on your breasts on the day of your exam.
- Tell the clinic if you have breast implants when you make your appointment.
- Tell the clinic if you have physical disabilities that may make it hard for you to sit up, lift your arms or dress yourself. Let them know if you use a wheelchair or scooter.
- Talk with the staff about how they will handle issues of modesty that you may have due to your religion.
How is a 3D Mammography Performed?
The 3D mammography procedure resembles that of traditional mammography. The procedure takes place in a private room and is conducted by a radiologic technologist. The woman undergoing 3D mammography is required to remove any clothing above the waist, as well as any jewelry or other objects that might interfere with the imaging process.
During the procedure, the woman is positioned before a 3D mammography machine and her breasts are held in place by two compression plates. The pressure placed on the breasts by the compression plates can cause discomfort but only lasts for a few seconds. When ready, the radiologic technologist will start the 3D mammography machine and a robotic arm will move in an arc over the woman's breasts as multiple X-ray images are taken. The dose is like film mammography and is only slightly higher than in standard 2D digital mammography. The scan itself takes less than two to three seconds per view. The entire procedure takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes.
Please call the Radiology Department, at 715-463-7292, to schedule your mammogram today.