In-Office 3D Mammography

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Regular mammography screenings and exams help you detect early signs of breast cancer. Now, you can schedule your mammogram on the same day as your annual well-woman visit thanks to our convenient, state-of-the-art in-office mammography suites.

Traditional mammography uses X-rays to look for breast cancer in women without symptoms. 3D mammography, or digital breast tomosynthesis, is a new technology that is performed along with 2D digital mammography. 3D mammography creates three-dimensional images of breast tissue. This imaging study is performed with the same equipment and in the same way as conventional mammography, but it uses computer software to create more detailed images to identify any areas of concern.

If you would like to learn more about our in-house 3D mammography, please contact one of our participating locations. We’ll make sure you’re comfortable during your visit, answer every question, and do all we can so you can enjoy your best health.

Frequently asked questions

Who should get a mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast that can detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. High-quality mammography is the most effective tool available to detect breast cancer early, before symptoms appear — often before a breast lump can even be felt. Starting at age 40 women have the choice to start screening for breast cancer with mammograms, if they wish to do so. If your family has a history of breast cancer or abnormal screenings, you should speak with your ObGyn provider to see if you should start screenings at a younger age. From ages 45 and up we recommend that women receive an annual mammogram.

What’s the Difference Between a 2D Mammogram and a 3D Mammogram?

Two-dimensional mammography provides the radiologist with a flat image of the breast. The addition of 3D technology allows the technician to obtain multiple views of the breast that are used to produce a detailed, 3D image for the radiologist to read. Women probably won’t notice much difference in the process when they choose to add 3D mammography to their screening because the same scanner that takes the traditional images is used to take the 3D images. The X-ray arm moves in a slight arc when taking the images that will be used with software to create the 3D image. This requires about one extra minute per breast, exposing patients to slightly more low-level radiation than traditional 2D mammography.

How Does 3D Mammography Work?

2D and 3D mammograms position and compress your breast in the same way to get X-ray images. With 3D mammography, the radiologist is able to review your digital photos from multiple angles and layers, allowing them to more easily determine if there are any cancerous cells in your breasts. This approach is particularly important for women with dense breasts, who have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

What are the Benefits of 3D Mammography?

3D mammography provides a more detailed picture that provides the physician with a better view of abnormal tissue and small tumors that may have been hidden when tissue overlapped in traditional 2D views. Women who add 3D mammography to their test may receive fewer call backs from the radiologist asking for second views of suspicious tissue.

Currently, one drawback to this new technology is the fact that many insurance companies do not pay for the test; however, the extra cost to the patient is reasonable, and the 2D traditional portion of the test will be covered by insurance. It is important to know that some insurance companies do not pay for 3D mammography. We recommend that you check with your insurance provider to see what your plan covers.

What happens after a mammogram?

The radiologist will report your mammogram findings directly to you, or to your doctor who will contact you with the results. If you need further tests or exams, your doctor will notify you. 

Why should I have an automated breast ultrasound?

While dense breast tissue is not considered to be an abnormal condition, it is a risk factor for breast cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health. If your mammogram indicates that you have dense breast tissue, ultrasound will allow a radiologist to better differentiate between breast tissue and any instances of cancer. In a mammogram, both breast tissue and cancers appear white; However, with ultrasound, tissue appears light while cancers appear dark, making them more easily identifiable.

Important message about the COVID vaccine and your mammogram:

Do you have a mammogram coming up? Please note that swollen glands in the armpit or collarbone area are a common side effect of the Moderna COVID vaccine, and also infrequently seen with the Pfizer vaccine. (Vaccines of all types can result in temporary swelling of the lymph nodes, which may be a sign that your body is making antibodies in response as intended!) Because these swollen glands can be confused with signs of breast cancer, if you plan to have a screening mammogram this year, your appointment should be scheduled either before your first dose of the vaccine or four to six weeks after the second dose.

Diagnostic mammograms (for a breast abnormality) should not be delayed. Make sure to inform your doctor of the date you received the vaccine, and in which arm. If you have any questions about your mammogram and the COVID vaccine, please don't hesitate to reach out to your Women's Health Connecticut provider.

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