A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray picture of the breast. It reveals masses and micro-calcifications that may indicate cancer. We use digital mammography, which delivers substantial advantages to you and to your provider:
- Higher quality images than traditional film.
- Reduces the number of retakes and repeat procedures.
- Less time spent in the exam room (an average of seven minutes for the procedure).
- Faster communication of results to your referring provider.
- Easy, secure sharing with the most qualified women’s imaging specialists in Orange County.
- More refined detection tools, such as computer-aided diagnosis (CAD).
- Greater accuracy, with image enhancement algorithms that make abnormalities in dense tissue more clear.
When is it used?
Experts recommend a mammography screening of the breasts at regular intervals to increase the chance of early cancer detection and treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends women aged 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
What happens during a mammogram procedure?
- In a private dressing room, you will undress from the waist up and put on a gown.
- The technologist will review your medical history and any symptoms you’ve been experiencing related to your breasts.
- In the exam room, the technologist will position you standing at the mammography machine and place your breast over the receptor.
- The machine applies moderate compression to your breast for a few seconds to obtain the clearest image.
- Two X-ray views are usually taken of each breast with a digital mammogram (3D mammography takes many more).
- The technologist will view your images on the computer screen in the room, only to assess the image quality.
- You can leave immediately and resume normal activities.
What are the benefits and risks?
For nearly 50 years, mammography has been the most common imaging tool used in the detection of breast cancer. Breast cancer deaths have declined significantly since 1990, and some studies show two-thirds of that decline is due to mammography screening. The amount of radiation exposure, in both standard and 3D mammography, is below government standards, so risks are extremely low.