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What is 3D Mammography?

3D mammography (also called breast tomosynthesis) is a newer breast imaging technology for breast cancer screening and detection that improves the visualization of breast tissue by supplementing conventional two-dimensional mammogram images with detailed image slices of breast tissue at different depths.


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:

  • Makes suspicious areas of tissue easier to detect and characterize
  • Reduces the need for callbacks for additional views
  • Improves the likelihood that breast cancer will be diagnosed at its earliest, most treatable stage

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.

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