3D Mammography - Breast Tomosynthesis
Women’s Health is proud to be a Pink Ribbon Facility performing 3D Mammography in our Worcester office, Suite 100.
Appointments for 3D mammograms are available Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. These appointments can be scheduled on the same day as your yearly gynecological exam. Call 508-755-4861 for scheduling.
About Breast Tomosynthesis
Breast tomosynthesis is a new technology in the fight against breast cancer. Breast tomosynthesis may be used in conjunction with traditional digital mammography as part of your annual screening mammogram to capture more breast images. Very low X-ray energy is used during the screening examination so your radiation exposure is safely below the American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines. Using breast tomosynthesis and digital mammography together for screening has been proven to reduce “call-backs”.
Breast tomosynthesis may also be used for a diagnostic mammogram if you happen to be called back for this type of exam.
What is breast tomosynthesis?
Breast tomosynthesis uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices” – building what is essentially a “3-dimensional mammogram”.
During the tomosynthesis part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images in just seconds. A computer then produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one-millimeter layers.
Now the radiologist can see breast tissue detail in a way 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 During Your Exam
A tomosynthesis exam is very similar to a traditional mammogram. Just as with a digital mammogram, the technologist will position you, compress your breast under a paddle and take images from different angles. A breast tomosynthesis exam may be used as a screening tool in conjunction with a traditional digital mammogram or may be used by itself for a diagnostic mammogram.
During the tomosynthesis portion of the exam, your breast will be under compression while the X-ray arm of the mammography machine makes a quick arc over the breast, taking a series of breast images at a number of angles. This will only take a few seconds and all of the images are viewed by the technologist at their computer workstation to ensure they have captured adequate images for review by a radiologist.
The whole procedure time should be approximately the same as that of a digital mammogram. The technologist sends your breast images electronically to the radiologist, who studies them and reports results to either your physician or directly to you.
What do radiologists and mammographers say about tomosynthesis?
When asked about 3-D mammography, Noreen LaSalle, MD, Mammography Division Director at St. Vincent Hospital says, “3-D breast imaging or breast tomosynthesis is a new tool in the detection of breast cancer. It has the potential of reducing recall rates therefore reducing patient anxiety while increasing cancer detection – especially in patients with dense breasts.” Dr. LaSalle reports that 3D imaging represents a significant advancement in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.
Our lead mammographer, Heidi is happy to be using this new mammography equipment .…“Over the past months we have been able to diagnose breast cancers which likely would have gone undetected prior to using tomosynthesis.”
The American Cancer Society guidelines recommend yearly mammograms beginning at age 40.
Have you had your mammogram this year??
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