3-D mammography is a diagnostic test that produces highly-detailed images of the breast tissue. The test uses a special x-ray device to capture images, producing a series of thin "slices" that provide much greater detail than traditional mammograms. Each image “slice” can be examined individually or the slices can be combined to create a three-dimensional image or dynamic animation of specific areas of the breast. Research has shown 3-D mammography can substantially improve the ability of physician to detect cancers in their earliest stages, including cancers that may be missed in images produced during traditional mammography. 3-D mammography is also called tomosynthesis or “tomo.”
3-D mammography can be performed in any patient, but it's especially useful in women with risk factors for breast cancer including a family history of breast cancer. Each slice can be evaluated individually, making it easier to see tiny abnormalities that might otherwise be hidden by dense or overlapping tissue.
3-D mammography can be performed at the same time as a traditional mammography. During the test, the patient will remove her shirt and bra and put on a hospital gown. Standing in front of the mammography machine, the breast will be placed on a special platform and a flat paddle will descend on top of the breast to compress the tissue for better and more detailed imaging results. Compressing the breast tissue also makes it easier to detect tiny abnormalities in the deeper tissue of the breast or in dense tissue. Once the initial 2-D (traditional) mammography is complete, an additional arm attached to the main mammography machine will pass over the breast, taking additional images needed for the three-dimensional view. Altogether, the exam takes less than a half hour to perform and women can resume their normal routines immediately afterward.
*Individual Results May Vary