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What is a Digital Mammogram and Breast Tomosynthesis?

Digital Mammography PhotoDigital mammography uses a computer to record images of the breast. The images are captured and stored digitally, allowing radiologists to manipulate the images. The images become a more versatile diagnostic tool and can then be enlarged or highlighted.

For women age 40 and over, an annual mammogram is the most important way to detect breast cancer in the earliest stages. Annual mammograms are usually covered by medical insurance and do not require a doctor’s referral.

Breast Tomosynthesis: An Additional Screening Tool

Scientists have developed a new technology called breast tomosynthesis, which has been shown in clinical studies to be superior to digital mammography alone.

Breast tomosynthesis is a new technology in the fight against breast cancer. Breast tomosynthesis is used in conjunction with traditional digital mammography as part of your annual screening mammogram to capture more breast images. Using breast tomosynthesis and digital mammography together for screening has been proven to reduce “call‑backs” and may detect cancer earlier.

What is Breast Tomosynthesis?

Breast tomosynthesis converts digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices”—building what is essentially a “3-dimensional mammogram”.

Now the radiologist can see breast tissue detail in away never before possible. Instead of viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue in a flat image, the doctor can examine the tissue a millimeter at a time. Fine details are more clearly visible, no longer hidden by the tissue above and below.

What to Expect?

A digital mammogram with tomosynthesis is very similar to a traditional mammogram. The exam time is approximately the same as a digital mammogram and delivers a similar radiation dose. Just as with your digital mammogram, your breast will be compressed while the x-ray arm makes a quick arc over the breast taking a series of images at a number of angles. 2D and 3D images are obtained simultaneously. With tomosynthesis, additional compression and adjustment of the breast is not required.

You can choose from a traditional digital mammogram or opt for a digital mammogram plus tomosynthesis for an additional $40.

In some cases you may be asked to come back for additional imaging such as a diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound.

What You Need To Know

Do NOT use deodorant or perfume before your appointment.

Plan for a 30 minute visit.

If your last mammogram was not performed at Iowa Radiology, please let your scheduler know.

Tomosynthesis is not covered by insurance at this time.

When can I expect the results?

A radiologist will review the images and send a report to your referring physician within one business day. You will receive a letter in the mail within one week from Iowa Radiology. If additional images are needed, we will contact you to schedule this follow up and notify your doctor. Your doctor will review the report and contact you with the results.

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about your procedure, please call us at 515-226-9810 and ask for a mammography tech or email us at schedule@iowaradiology.com. We are here to help.

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