3D Digital Mammography
What is Mammography?
Mammography is an x-ray of the breasts and is used to detect cancer. It is safe and widely used.
Mammography detects most, but not all cancers. The detection rate is less in dense or scarred breasts, whereas in fatty breasts the detection rate may be higher. Younger women generally have denser breasts than older women.
Bridge Road Imaging has digital mammography.
It takes multiple X-ray pictures of each breast from many angles. The breast is positioned the same way it is in a conventional mammogram, but only a little pressure is applied — just enough to keep the breast in a stable position during the procedure. The X-ray tube moves in an arc around the breast while images are taken during the examination. Then the information is sent to a computer, where it is assembled to produce clear, highly focused 3-dimensional images throughout the breast.
The breast image is captured using a special electronic x-ray detector, which converts the image into a digital picture for review on a computer monitor. The digital mammogram is then stored on a computer. With digital mammography, the magnification, orientation, brightness, and contrast of the image may be altered after the exam is completed to help the radiologist more clearly see certain areas.
Mammography can be painful for some women, but for most it is mildly uncomfortable, and the sensation lasts for just a few seconds. Compressing the breast is necessary to flatten and reduce the thickness of the breast. The X-ray beam should penetrate as few layers of overlapping tissues as possible. From start to finish, the entire procedure takes about 20 minutes. A diagnostic mammogram generally takes more time than a screening mammogram because it takes more pictures from more angles.
Benefits can include:
- Earlier detection of small breast cancers
- Greater accuracy in pinpointing size, shape and location of abnormalities
- Fewer unnecessary biopsies or additional tests
- Greater likelihood of detecting multiple breast tumours, which occur in 15% of breast cancer patients
- Clearer images of dense breast tissue
Emphasis on Safety
Ensuring patient safety is our top priority. We pay special attention to minimizing radiation exposure while producing the highest quality image to answer the clinical question. As part of this commitment, we invest in the latest equipment to ensure that our scanner consistently delivers the lowest dose of radiation possible during an exam.
Ultrasound is also used in assessment of the breasts, often together with mammography.
Occasionally, the patient may need to be recalled after mammography for additional views or for an ultrasound.
Most women who are recalled for additional views have either normal breasts or benign (non-cancerous) lesions like cysts or fibroadenomas.
On the Day
A special x-ray machine is used. The breast is compressed between 2 plates and drawn away from the chest wall so as not to miss a small, deeply placed lesion. This may be somewhat uncomfortable but lasts only a few seconds.
Comparison with previous mammogram is very important to detect subtle changes, so please bring any previous mammograms with you. The radiation dose used in mammography is very small and is considered safe.