3D mammography, or breast tomosynthesis, is a relatively new breast imaging procedure approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011. Breast tomosynthesis represents the best screening tool available in the fight against breast cancer, providing a shift in breast cancer screening by taking digital mammography to the next level. Women’s Choice Mammography is one of the earliest adopters of 3D mammography in the U.S. and was the first practice in Fairfield County to offer this technology to the women we serve.
Traditional mammography produces just two images of each breast, an angled side-to-side view and a top-to-bottom view. Breast tomosynthesis uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images, obtained at many different angles, into a stack of very thin layers or "slices" - building what is essentially a "3-dimensional mammogram". Breast tomosynthesis allows doctors to examine breast tissue in 1 millimeter increments. Fine details are clearly visible, no longer hidden by the tissue above and below. 3D images help radiologists' better see the size, shape, and location of abnormalities resulting in both detection of smaller tumors and much fewer false positive exams. 3D mammography can be used for routine screening mammography and may be particularly effective for women with dense breast tissue or those at high risk for developing breast cancer. The exam experience is initially identical to a typical mammogram, however, during the tomosynthesis part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images in only a few seconds.
We do not receive reimbursement for the additional cost of 3D mammography at this time and we do not charge the patient an additional fee. It’s our mission to provide the best service and technology to our patients. 3D mammography is part of this mission at Women’s Choice Mammography.
The 3D mammography procedure resembles that of traditional mammography. The procedure takes place in a private room and is conducted by a radiologic technologist. The woman undergoing 3D mammography is required to change into a mammography gown/cape, removing any clothing above the waist, as well as any jewelry or other objects that might interfere with the imaging process.
Results from a landmark study evaluating close to half a million mammography exams published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Graphic courtesy of Hologic.
During the procedure, the woman is positioned before a 3D mammography machine and her breasts are held in place by two compression plates. The pressure placed on the breasts by the compression plates can cause discomfort but only lasts for a few seconds. The majority of women examined feel that the 3D/tomosynthesis exam is less painful than conventional digital mammography.
When ready, the radiologic technologist will start the 3D mammography machine and the arm will move in an arc over the woman’s breasts as multiple very low dose X-ray images are taken. The dose is similar to film mammography and is only slightly higher than in standard 2D digital mammography.
The scan itself takes only a few seconds per view. The entire procedure takes approximately 10 to 20 minutes. At Women’s Choice Mammography, the results of the exam are conveyed to the patient before leaving the office.
Women’s Choice is the first and only practice in Connecticut to perform 3-D Mammography for every patient. This technology is significantly more accurate in detecting invasive breast cancers and is considered the best tool available to fight this disease. “This technology allows us to find cancers at an earlier stage, when they are smaller.” Women’s Choice Mammography is accredited by the American College of Radiology.
Dr. Specht and his staff offer unparalleled personalized care in a warm, relaxed environment. He meets with patients to discuss their exam results before they leave the office. “Patients deserve the best technology and a higher level of service than what they are accustomed to and that is what we provide.”
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