Mammography is a safe, low-dose x-ray of the breast(s). Mammography, along with breast self-examination, is the best defense against breast cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment saves thousands of lives annually.
There are two kinds of mammograms: screening and diagnostic. Screening mammograms involve two x-ray views of each breast. In the event an area of concern is identified, the patient may be called back for special additional views.
Diagnostic mammograms require more views and are usually indicated in situations where patients have had prior breast surgery, implants or fibrocystic disease. In either exam, screening or diagnostic, the breasts will be temporarily and gently compressed in order to obtain the best possible image.
Cleared by the FDA in 2011, 3D mammography—or digital breast tomosynthesis—is a recent and significant innovation in breast imaging. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that adding tomosynthesis to a screening mammogram increases the cancer detection rate by up to 40% and significantly lowers recall rates.