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During The Tomosynthesis/3-D Mammography Exam By Hill Medical

What to expect when I get a 3-D mammogram?

You will have your mammogram while standing or sitting upright against the mammography unit. The technologist will carefully place one of your breasts among the plates and position it for optimal visualization of your breast tissue. The technologist will compress your breast gently. Although this may be temporarily uncomfortable, it is necessary in order to produce a good mammogram and accurate diagnosis. Compression during a mammogram is necessary for the following reasons:

  • It reduces the radiation dose by decreasing the thickness of your breast.
  • It prevents motion during exposure.
  • It separates the breast tissue, allowing optimal evaluation of lesions that might be obscured by other tissue.
  • It increases detail by bringing the breast as close as possible to the film.

The compression takes only a few seconds of the examination and the entire procedure for screening mammography takes 15-20 minutes. The technologist will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds while she obtains an image. Our caring technologist will walk you through the procedure. It is important that you communicate your level of comfort or discomfort with the technologist. Your temporary discomfort during the mammogram does not in any way damage the breast tissue. If you have sensitive breasts, it may be helpful for you to schedule your future mammograms about a week after your period, when your breasts are the least tender. You may otherwise consider taking an Aleve or Motrin 1 hour prior to your mammogram to lower the level of discomfort during breast compression.

Two to three images will be taken on each breast. The x-ray dose used during the 3D exam is low, and is below the FDA safety standards for mammography. More images may be taken to make sure all the breast tissue is visualized on the images. This procedure produces an image of the breast tissue, which is read or interpreted by our highly trained and experienced radiologists.

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