A relatively new tool in diagnostic imaging, 3-D mammography gives Tri-County Health Care's radiologists a reliable method for detecting breast cancer that increases accuracy and can lessen the need for follow-up imaging or tests.
Increased accuracy for peace of mind
Digital breast tomosynthesis (tomo), also known as 3-D mammography, is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool to improve the early detection of breast cancer. During the exam, an X-ray arm sweeps over the breast, taking multiple images in seconds. Images are displayed as a series of thin slices that can be viewed by our radiologists as individual images or in a dynamic interactive animation. 3-D mammography is often used in combination with 2-D digital mammography.
What are the benefits of 3-D mammography?
Two of the top benefits of 3-D mammography are improving the early detection of breast cancer and providing peace of mind due to greater clarity and accuracy. This increased accuracy reduces the number of call-backs, sparing women the anxiety, inconvenience and expense of coming back for further imaging.
How is 3-D mammography different than 2-D?
Traditional digital mammography takes two-dimensional pictures of the breast and is still an effective tool for detecting breast abnormalities. Rather than viewing the breast tissue in 2-D images, our radiologists can now examine the tissue one thin layer at a time with 3-D images, making fine details more visible and less likely to be hidden by overlapping tissue.
Do I need a referral for a 3-D mammogram?
Yes, you will need an order for your mammogram. Your provider can supply one. If you currently do not have a primary care provider, we would be happy to help you schedule a physical with one of our providers. We also accept orders from outside providers.
Is there increased radiation with 3-D mammography?
3-D mammography is quite safe. Radiation exposure to the breast is very low. In fact, the radiation dose for a combined 2-D/3-D mammography exam is well below the acceptable limits defined by the FDA and is only a fraction of the level of radiation you receive from natural sources.
What can I expect during a 3-D mammogram?
3-D mammography complements standard 2-D mammography. No additional breast compression is required, and it only takes a few more seconds. The experience will be very similar to mammograms patients have had in the past. As is typical with any mammogram exam, some women experience minor discomfort, and others experience no discomfort at all.
With 3-D mammography, do I still need an annual screening?
Yes. All women are at risk for breast cancer, regardless of symptoms or family history. Mammograms often can detect potential problems before they can be felt. Early detection greatly increases treatment options and the likelihood of successful recovery. Although 2-D/3-D combination exams have been proven to detect more cancers, it is still recommended that all women 40 and older receive a routine screening mammogram every year.
Is the screening uncomfortable?
Patients can expect some discomfort through the process. Tri-County Health Care now uses the Hologic SmartCurve Breast Stabilization System. This new technology increases patient comfort during mammogram screening with the use of conforming paddles. Learn more here.
Is 3-D mammography safe for women with breast implants?
Yes. Mammography, both 2-D and 3-D, is safe for women with breast implants. Most breast implants are designed to withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure. A mammogram generates an average of 20 lbs. of pressure.