Why We Made the Switch to 3D Mammography


As the region’s only comprehensive women’s diagnostic services provider, RAO has replaced all 2D mammography equipment with FDA-approved 3D mammography, also known as tomosynthesis. 

Women naturally have questions about the difference, and we’re happy to explain the superiority of 3D mammography so you can feel confident about scheduling your routine breast cancer screening. 

Superior Accuracy

It’s easy to understand why 3D provides greater security than 2D: it’s all in the numbers. “2D mammography produces about four total top and side images of the breast,” says the Medical Director of RAO’s Women’s Imaging Center and breast imaging subspecialist Dr. Amanda Aulls. “3D mammography combines 2D imaging and 3D composite imaging in one process, creating many images and providing greater clarity, especially of dense breast tissue, which historically has been difficult to see through.” Studies show that 3D mammography is 20-65% more accurate at discovering invasive breast cancer than 2D alone, for earlier discovery of cancer and a significant reduction in false positive results. 

Less Anxiety

False positives are more than just frightening – they often require follow-up appointments and additional testing, sometimes even biopsies, which can impact women physically and economically as well as emotionally. “3D imaging reduces the incidence of false alarms and unneeded follow-up testing by up to 40 percent,” says breast imaging subspecialist Dr. Ryan Tompkins. 

Quicker Scan Times

Because of its clearer, more accurate multi-layered imaging of breast tissue, 3D mammography delivers the fastest scan time, limiting breast compression time to less than 4 seconds per scan. Softer, more flexible paddles make breast compression more comfortable for many women. The test adds only seconds to the total exam time, making it virtually indistinguishable from a 2D mammogram. 

3D mammography does contain a higher dose of radiation than 2D alone. If you have concerns about the elevated dose, we invite you to contact RAO for more details. 

Breast Imaging Specialists

RAO’s breast imaging specialists are fellowship-trained in the analysis and interpretation of 3D mammography imaging as well as diagnostic procedures like breast MRI and image-guided biopsy, providing enhanced accuracy and safety. We are dedicated to placing your health and security above all else. 

Only One RAO

RAO’s Women’s Imaging Center and TimberRidge Imaging Center have earned Breast Center of Excellence designations by the American College of Radiology. When it’s time for your routine screening mammogram, we invite you to schedule an appointment by calling RAO at (352) 671-4300.