GENERAL OVERVIEW ABOUT THE EXAM
A mammogram is an imaging exam used to discover breast cancer. Current guidelines from the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, the American College of Radiology and the Susan G. Komen Foundation recommend annual screening mammograms for women beginning at age 40.
A screening mammogram is an annual exam designed to catch breast cancer early, when it is easiest to treat, and is performed on women currently free of symptoms. RAI utilizes the latest in early discovery technology, breast tomosynthesis or 3D Mammography™ screening, which is 40% more effective than traditional mammography at discovering invasive cancers and eliminating false positives.
Two images of each breast are obtained during a screening mammogram exam, the view from above (called the CC view) and the side view (called the MLO view). If you have breast implants, four views of each breast will be obtained to observe the tissue around the implant. These images are checked by our skilled technologist to ensure they are of adequate quality and free of artifacts, so they can be interpreted by one of our Breast Imaging Professionals. A report will be sent to your doctor, and a letter explaining the findings will be sent to you.
Diagnostic mammography is performed in women, even under age 40, who experience symptoms in the breast, such as a lump, pain, nipple discharge, or skin changes, as well as on women whose screening mammogram showed a possible abnormality. This type of exam often includes additional images targeted to a specific area of concern. A breast ultrasound may also be included as part of this work-up.
The number and type of additional tests and images vary depending on the findings being evaluated. Our Breast Imaging Radiologists will interpret these images while you wait and determine if an ultrasound is needed. Once complete, the results will be discussed with you and all of your questions will be answered.
If a breast biopsy is needed, your options will be discussed in detail with you. RAI offers the full range of biopsy procedures, including stereotactic breast biopsy, ultrasound guided biopsy, MRI guided breast biopsy, and needle localization procedures, all within a comfortable and caring environment. RAI’s technologies and commitment to quality made us east Central Florida’s first Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, as designated by the American College of Radiology.
What to Expect
On the day of your exam you should avoid using any powders, deodorant or perfume under your arms or on your breasts/chest. These substances can sometimes cause artifacts on the images that may be confused with an abnormality.
It is important to bring any prior imaging studies with you if these were performed at another facility.
In a 3D Mammography™ exam, the breast is compressed between two flat imaging plates to show detail of each breast. Two compressions are made of each breast, and it may be somewhat uncomfortable for some; however, the compression lasts only a few seconds while the x-ray unit moves in an “arc” around the breast taking multiple images. The images are sent to a computer, which creates a composite 3D image. More images using mammography or ultrasound may be required if the radiologist sees an area in the breast that is unclear or abnormal-looking.
Screening 3D Mammography™ exams typically take about 10-15 minutes, provided no additional imaging is necessary.