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What Is a Digital Mammogram & Breast Tomosynthesis?

Digital Mammography Saves LivesDigital 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.

What Is Low Dose 3D Mammography?

Digital MammographyBreast 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.

Low dose 3D mammography is superior to traditional 2D mammography alone. Benefits include: Increased cancer detection over 2D mammography alone and fewer callbacks.

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 2D or opt for a low dose 3D digital mammogram for an additional fee.

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.

Schedule Your Mammogram

When Can I Expect 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.

Do You Have Questions Regarding Your Test?

Call: 515-226-9810
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What You Need to know about your mammogram


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