3D mammography is appropriate for both screening and diagnostic mammograms. In effect, the exam creates two sets of breast images: one set of conventional two-dimensional mammogram images and an additional set of image slices of breast tissue at different depths.
In two-dimensional mammography, images of breast tissue at different depths sometimes overlap. This can make suspicious tissue more difficult for radiologists to find. By adding the set of image slices, 3D mammography:
3D mammography is appropriate as the routine annual screening for all women who meet the criteria for annual mammograms based on their age (40+) and/or risk profile. However, the enhanced sensitivity and tissue characterization make the exam especially beneficial for women with dense breast tissue, who are more likely to have abnormalities missed in a conventional mammogram.
Currently, women in New Jersey who have dense breasts can expect insurance coverage for 3D mammography, but it is always recommended to confirm with your insurance carrier as plans do vary. For other patients, coverage may vary. Conventional 2D mammograms remain available at Larchmont Medical Imaging.
Please bring (or arrange the mailing of) all previous mammograms performed at other facilities. A very early cancer may only be seen when a radiologist compares your current mammogram to previous ones.
Don't wear deodorant or powder during your exam. Some of these products may cause bright spots that look like abnormalities on X-rays.
If your breasts are sensitive, schedule your mammogram at a time during the month when your breasts will be the least sensitive. Avoiding the week before your period will help to lessen discomfort.
A screening 3D mammogram is a routine study. A diagnostic 3D mammogram is a targeted exam for women with specific breast problems or an abnormal screening mammogram. Your breasts will be compressed to spread out the tissue. This is necessary to produce the clearest images with the least amount of radiation. Compression will last a few seconds and then is released immediately. Our technologist will make the exam as comfortable as possible. A radiologist who specializes in breast imaging will review your 3D mammogram images. A report of the findings will be sent to your doctor shortly after your visit. Results will be mailed to you within a few weeks. If the radiologist requests additional images, you will receive a phone call from our staff within a few days to schedule the follow-up diagnostic procedure.