3D Mammography/Tomosynthesis

Salem Radiology is proud to offer 3D Mammography.

The Basics of 3D Mammography/Tomosynthesis

3D Mammography, also known as Tomosynthesis, is a mammography technique that uses X-ray technology to scan for breast cancer or any suspected tumors or masses within breast structures. This new technology helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue. It is the most commonly used 3D mammography technique, with its ability to produce a three dimensional image that enables doctors to virtually examine the scanned area. The 3D properties in the scan enable doctors to better pinpoint suspect cells or tumor masses.

Mammograms are classified as either screening exams (a basic preventive exam aimed at identifying any potential problems at the earliest possible time) or diagnostic exams. Diagnostic mammograms are used to evaluate a woman who has a known breast problem or who has had an abnormal result on a screening mammogram. Mammograms can detect cancers too small to be felt by the patient during a breast self-exam, or by her doctor or nurse during a clinical exam.

Mammogram Patient Preparation

Patients who schedule a mammogram should make sure not to schedule the exam the week prior to her menstrual cycle. If the patient is taking hormones, the exam should be scheduled during a time when she is not taking hormones. On the day of the exam, the patient must not apply any deodorant, lotions, or perfume products to the breast, chest, or underarm areas. Please wear a two-piece outfit, so that you will only have to undress from the waist up. Please remove any jewelry around the neck.

If you have had previous mammograms at other locations, please bring copies of those reports and images or request they be sent to us in advance of your exam. These studies or reports are important to the radiologist interpreting your mammogram. Also, please remember to bring a copy of your insurance card with you.

What To Expect During a 3D Mammogram

The process is nearly identical to getting a 2D mammogram. During a 3D Mammogram, multiple, low-dose images of the breast are acquired at different angles.  These images are then used to produce a series of one-millimeter thick slices that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast.

A technologist will guide you through your exam. First, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and will be given a gown to wear. One breast at a time will be placed between a surface containing an X-ray “plate” and an adjustable platform that will briefly compress the breast. With this compression, you may feel some pressure but discomfort should be minimal. You may be asked to hold your breath while the breast is being imaged.

To learn more and to schedule your annual mammogram, call us at 603-890-2800.

Obtaining Results

You should always consult with your doctor to discuss the results.  We provide all patients with a “layman’s letter” in which the results of the exam and any recommendations by the radiologist are communicated directly to you as well as your doctor.