Mammography is a low dose x-ray of the breast. A mammogram can detect cancers that are often too small to be felt by a patient or their healthcare provider. These studies can also show changes in the breast tissue that could be an indication of a very early breast cancer. The use of Digital Mammography is a technology our radiologists use in locating and diagnosing cancer nodules that were previously undetectable on older systems.
Mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. This type of mammogram is called a screening mammogram. Screening mammograms are performed annually for women who are asymptomatic experiencing no issues and are part of a regular preventative healthcare screening program. On the day of the exam, don’t wear deodorant or antiperspirant. Some of these contain substances that can show up on the x-ray as white spots.
What to expect during the mammography procedure:
- You will be asked to undress from the waist up and stand facing the mammography machine. To get a high-quality picture, your breast must be compressed, so your technologist will position one breast at a time on a flat surface.
- Your imaging will be performed by a board certified female technologist. During the exam, your breast will be placed on a special platform and gradually compressed with a paddle. The use of compression is necessary as it reduces the amount of radiation to the breast and distributes the breast tissue evenly ensuring optimal visualization.
- You will be asked to hold very still as the image is taken. Holding still and suspending your breath for a couple of seconds reduces the chance for motion or blurriness in your picture. The technologist will do everything to ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout your procedure.
**Typically radiologists only visit with those patients who are having a diagnostic mammogram***