3D Mammography

3D Mammography (Breast Tomosynthesis) is the latest, most advanced technology for early detection of Breast Cancer. When compared with 2D mammography, 3D mammography is 27% more effective at detecting breast cancers, 40% more effective at detecting invasive breast cancers, and reduces false positives by 17%.

  • WHAT IS 3D MAMMOGRAPHY?

    3D Mammography (Breast Tomosynthesis) is the latest, most advanced technology for early detection of Breast Cancer.  The Women’s Imaging Centre performs 3D Mammography Breast Tomosynthesis in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram, and quite often a breast ultrasound.

    Instead of viewing the complexities of the breast tissue in one flat 2D image, the radiologist can scroll through the images of your entire breast one layer at a time.  A common analogy for 3D Mammography is likened to the pages in a book.  Instead of just seeing the cover of the book, 3D mammography is like seeing all the information inside page by page from cover to cover.  3D mammography allows the radiologist to view the breast tissue in 1mm slices and eliminates the confusion of overlapping tissue.

    Mammography is a low-dose X-ray used to assess breast disease in symptomatic women, and as a screening tool in the wider population. Mammography can show small cancers well before a lump is palpable, and early detection increases the overall effectiveness of cancer treatment.

    Around 10% of all breast cancers will not be identified by mammography alone. Ultrasound is often used to further assess breast tissue and improve detection rates.

    The key difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram is the reason why a mammogram is requested. A screening mammogram is for review of asymptomatic women taken either once a year, or every two years. In women aged 50-69 years, a screening mammogram is the best way to detect unsuspected cancer at an early stage.

    A diagnostic mammogram is used to assess suspected abnormalities, such as a lump, nipple discharge, change in breast size or shape, or implant rupture.

  • BEFORE A MAMMOGRAM

    We recommend you book your appointment one week after your cycle, as your breasts will be less tender. Please do not wear any talcum powder, antiperspirant, deodorant, perfume or lotions on the day of examination. It is preferable to wear a 2 piece outfit as you will be asked to remove your shirt and bra and change into a gown.

    If you are pregnant or have reason to believe you may be, please inform your doctor and our staff at the time of booking. Please be sure to have a current referral from your doctor, and bring any relevant films or reports to assist our radiologists in making the most accurate diagnosis. Please bring your Medicare or Department of Veterans Affairs card with you to your appointment.

  • DURING A MAMMOGRAM

    3D mammography complements, but does not replace the standard 2D mammogram. Both acquisitions are performed at the same time and there is no additional compression required. The 3D mammogram only takes a few seconds longer for each view. The whole procedure time should be approximately the same as that of a digital mammogram.

    A qualified radiographer will ask you to remove one shoulder at a time from your gown. Each breast will then be positioned on a flat plate chest height, and compressed for for a brief moment. This might feel uncomfortable, but compression of the breast tissue improves image quality and shows tissue more clearly.

    During 3D mammography the X-ray arm moves in a slight arc over your breast, taking multiple breast images. This data generates a stack of very thin 1mm  images, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see the breast tissue detail.

    Often, an ultrasound will also be referred and performed to increase accuracy and diagnosis. Occasionally, X-rays are taken to further define areas.

  • AFTER A MAMMOGRAM

    Two experienced radiologists will interpret the mammogram and provide your referring doctor or specialist with a comprehensive report of the findings. The results of your scan will be sent directly to your referring doctor, and it is very important you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss your results. Any tenderness after your examination should settle within a few days.

  • PATIENT SAFETY

    The total radiation dose for a 3D Mammogram falls safely below the American College of Radiologists guidelines for mammography. The radiographer will set the equipment for the lowest dose of radiation possible, while still achieving high-quality images. Mammography is generally safe for women with implants, but there is a very small risk that the pressure placed on the implant might cause rupture. It is recommended that patients who are pregnant wait until after delivery to have a screening mammogram. If a diagnostic mammogram is needed during pregnancy, the radiation dose is very low and does not affect the developing child. The radiographer will place a lower abdomen lead apron over the patient to help reduce radiation exposure to the fetus.

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