Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose, non-invasive x-ray to examine breast tissue and aid in the diagnosis of breast diseases in women.
Two recent enhancements to traditional mammography include digital mammography and computer-aided detection.
Digital mammography, also called full field digital mammography (FFDM), is a mammography system in which the x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electrical signals. These detectors are similar to those found in digital cameras. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breast that can be seen on a computer screen. Digital mammograms let your doctor focus in on the areas of concern, enhance readability and improve interpretation of the images.
Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) systems use a digitized mammographic image that can be obtained from either a conventional film mammogram or a digitally acquired mammogram. The computer software then searches for abnormal areas of density, mass, or calcification that may indicate the presence of cancer. The CAD system highlights these areas on the images, alerting the radiologist to the need for further analysis.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON USES OF THE PROCEDURE?
Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.
Screening Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40. Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast conservation therapies are available.
Diagnostic Mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings—such as a breast lump or lumps—that have been found by the woman or her doctor. This may also be done after an abnormal screening mammography in order to determine the cause of the area of concern.
PREPARING FOR A MAMMOGRAM
It is best not to schedule your mammogram the week before your period, as your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time for a mammogram is one week after your period.
At the time you schedule your appointment, please advise us if you have breast implants or if you could be pregnant. In the event you have had previous abnormal mammograms taken at another facility, please obtain the films and bring them with you.
On the day of your test, do not wear deodorant, powder, lotion, or jewelry around your neck. Wear a two-piece outfit, as you will be asked to undress completely from the waist up.
Please allow 45 minutes for the exam.
Our imaging department seeks to provide your physician with the diagnostic tools needed to pinpoint an injury or illness, and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Our experienced staff works together to provide quality medical imaging services in a comfortable and convenient setting.