About Digital Mammography
What is Digital Mammography?
Digital mammography is a highly sensitive x-ray of the breast using very low levels of radiation to diagnose breast abnormalities and cancer at its earliest stages, before it can be felt or cause symptoms.
A digital mammogram offers many advantages including improved contrast between dense and non-dense breast tissue, faster image acquisition, shorter exam times, and electronic image storage. In addition, digital mammography allows our physicians the ability to manipulate images of the breasts for improved detection of breast cancer.
There are two types of digital mammograms: screening and diagnostic exams. A screening digital mammogram is recommended yearly for women aged 40 and older. This exam helps to initially diagnose abnormalities. A diagnostic digital mammogram is used to evaluate women who currently have a problem or symptom such as a palpable lump, pain in the breast, nipple discharge or those who had a previous screening digital mammogram that requires additional views.
How often should this exam be performed?
Women are recommended to have a baseline mammogram performed between ages 35 and 40. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms beginning at age 40. Breast self-examinations should be performed monthly.
What to Expect
A digital mammogram usually involves taking two x-rays of each breast, one taken from the side, and one from the top. The breast must be compressed between two flat surfaces for the pictures to properly show detail of the breast. The compression may be slightly uncomfortable for some; however, it is only for a short period of time (a few seconds) for each picture. More images using mammography or ultrasound may be required if the radiologist sees an area in the breast that is unclear or abnormal-looking.
For your convenience, please wear a two-piece outfit. Do not use deodorant, powder, or perfume under the arm or breast area.
Please bring the address and phone number of your previous mammography center (if different than Women’s Imaging Center or TimberRidge Imaging Center).