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What is Mammography?

Mammography uses X-rays to produce images of breast tissue for our radiologists to analyze in order to detect breast cancer. Mammography plays a key role in early detection of breast cancer allowing patients to begin treatment earlier. There are two types of mammography. Screening mammograms are regular exams for patients with no signs of breast abnormalities. This technique is the cornerstone of breast imaging and cancer detection. Diagnostic mammograms investigate suspicious breast changes and evaluate any abnormal findings on screening mammograms.

What Should I Expect?


When scheduling your appointment, arrange it for a time you are not menstruating so as to minimize discomfort. If you are breastfeeding, it is best to wait until you have stopped; this does not apply if you have any new breast pain or problems. You will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing from the waist up, so it is a good idea to wear a two-piece outfit at the time of your exam. You will also be asked to refrain from using deodorant or powders around the breast and armpit areas.

For more on how to prepare for your appointment CLICK HERE.



During your exam, you will stand in front of an X-ray machine while a technologist places one breast at a time on a platform and adjusts the machine to your height. Next, the technologist will position your body as necessary to get various views of your breast. When the exam begins, your breast is gently compressed onto the platform by a clear plastic plate and pressure is applied for a few seconds while the exposure is made. You may be asked to hold your breath and/or stand still. Although it may seem uncomfortable, compression of the breasts is necessary to spread out your breast tissue. The compression will lower the radiation needed and allows the radiologist to see your breast tissues and structures more clearly. The entire exam usually takes less than 15 minutes to complete.



After your exam you can return to your activities as normal. Our highly trained radiologists will analyze your images and report the findings for you to discuss with your doctor. Following the examination you will receive a letter that will indicate the results and/or recommendations for a follow up study. Additional testing is not uncommon in cases of dense breast tissue, inconclusive findings or areas that are not well seen – additional mammography or ultrasound may be recommended.

What to Expect During Your Exam


What are the risks involved?
What if I have dense breasts?
What is tomosynthesis?
Do I need one every year?
I am over 80 years old, do I really still need a mammogram?
How much radiation is in a screening vs. a diagnostic mammogram?
How long will the exam take?
Why can I NOT use deodorant?
Why am I getting a call back?
When will I receive my results?
What is the difference between 2D and 3D mammograms?