MRI uses a powerful magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce images. These images help to evaluate how well areas of the body are functioning and to detect and treat different medical conditions.

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A CT scan quickly takes multiple images of internal organs, soft tissue, and other body parts. These images are then used to diagnose cancer and other internal diseases.

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Women’s Health goes beyond screening mammograms. Exams like DEXA bone density tests, OB Ultrasounds, and Breast Biopsy play a vital role in preventative health care.

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Digital Mammography

Digital Mammography

Full Field Digital Mammography with Computer-Aided Detection (CAD)

By using a low dose of radiation, a digital mammogram takes x-rays of the breast which can detect and diagnose breast diseases. A mammogram can discover breast cancer before a lump or mass is felt, but can also show non-cancerous masses. The CAD (Computer-Aided Detection) system is software that searches the digital images for abnormal areas that may be a sign of cancer. The software marks the areas which alerts the radiologist to take a further look. The radiologist may determine that additional images need to be taken or an ultrasound performed.


The digital mammography machine is a rectangular box with an x-ray tube and special accessories that allows for only the breast to be exposed to radiation. A wide paddle, which is attached to an arm, is used to compress and hold the breast in place. The moveable arm allows for different angles to be taken. Compression of the breast is necessary for this exam. This reduces radiation and allows for a better image of the breast. It may be uncomfortable, but the compression lasts only a few seconds.


The images are read by our radiologist and a report is sent to your doctor in a timely manner.


Know the Facts

  • Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly 1/3 since 1990.
  • The ten-year risk for breast cancer in a 40 year old woman is 1 in 69.
  • 1 in 5 breast cancers occur in women aged 40-49.
  • Of all the years of life saved by mammography, 40% are for women in their 40s.
  • 3/4 of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk.
  • Even for women 50+, skipping a mammogram every other year would miss up to 30% of cancers.





Mammography FAQs

Who should get a mammogram?

Eventually, all women should get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society offers the following guidelines to women who are symptom-free:

  • Women 20 and older should perform breast self-examinations every month.
  • Women 20 to 39 should have a physical breast examination every three years.
  • Women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year.

Women with personal or family histories of breast cancer should consult their doctors about the need for more frequent or earlier mammography.


When should I get a mammogram?

The facts are that the risk of breast cancer increases with age. So the older you get, the more chances you have of developing breast cancer. Unfortunately, the incidence of breast cancer is also increasing in younger women. That is why screening should begin at age 40. The first mammogram serves as a baseline or as a “comparison.” The purpose of regular mammograms is to make sure that everything stays the same and that nothing new develops. This is one of the ways to find those tiny cancers that cannot be felt. The American Cancer Society and numerous other medical groups have determined that women age 40 and older should have a yearly mammogram. Women who have a family history of breast cancer should have mammograms more often (most recommend yearly after age 30). Other risk factors include other types of cancer such as colon cancer and uterine cancer. Women with no children or who have their first child after age 30 are also at a higher risk for breast cancer.


How accurate is a Mammogram?

Mammography has been used increasingly since 1960, and is constantly being improved. It is accurate about 90 percent of the time. And it’s also why more and more doctors are using mammography to help diagnose breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.


How safe is a mammogram?

Mammography has been used on millions of women for over 25 years. Like all X-rays, it involves limited exposure to radiation; but the amount required is small. Because of advances in all areas of mammography, the radiation dose has been dramatically reduced. Radiation exposure to the breasts during mammography is less than that received by sitting on the beach all day in the bright sun. This amount of radiation will not increase the incidence of breast cancer.


What is the difference between a Screening and a Diagnostic Mammogram?

Screening Digital Mammography
A screening mammogram is a low dose x-ray of the breast used to detect abnormal changes in the breast tissue. This type of routine mammogram is for women who have no signs or symptoms of an abnormality. Women are encouraged to have a baseline mammogram between the ages of 35-39, and begin annual exams at age 40. Screening mammography should be used in conjunction with a clinical breast exam performed by your physician and monthly self breast exams.


The exam is performed in an upright position, usually standing. The mammography technologist will instruct you while they place your breast tissue in the best position to achieve maximum results for your exam, and typically two views of each breast will be obtained. The breast tissue is compressed between two plates on the machine. Compression spreads apart the tissue to give the radiologist better visualization of the anatomical structures within the breast. The applied compression will be held in place only a few seconds during the exposure, and then automatically released.


Mammograms make it possible to detect tumors that cannot yet be felt, and also micro calcifications (tiny calcium deposits) that can sometimes indicate the presence of cancer. To reduce discomfort if you have sensitive breasts, schedule your mammogram in the first two weeks following your menstrual cycle when your breasts are less tender.


Upon completion of your screening exam, the mammography technologist will review the images for quality. The radiologist will interpret your exam and send the results to your referring physician or provider, and we will notify you of the outcome as well. If there is an area that raises any question for the radiologist that needs further clarification, they may recommend you return for a diagnostic mammogram.


Diagnostic Digital Mammography
A diagnostic mammogram is also a low-dose x-ray examination of the breasts, but used to evaluate potential problems within the breast. If you have one or more of the qualifying symptoms, you may need a diagnostic mammogram, instead of a screening:

  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • New lump or mass
  • New breast pain that is focal (localized to a specific point or area in the breast)
  • New nipple inversion
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Short-term follow up recommended by a radiologist from a previous mammography examination
  • Screening mammogram revealed a finding that needs further investigation or clarification


With a diagnostic evaluation, the technologist usually obtains the same images as with a screening exam, but also performs special customized views under the direction of the radiologist. This may include the use of special, smaller compression paddles, the use of magnification techniques, and/or breast ultrasound to focus on the area of interest or concern. Because this exam is more customized, it often requires more images be taken (as compared to a screening study), and also means that diagnostic exams from patient to patient may not be exactly the same. Also, diagnostic mammography is not considered a preventive care service by most insurance companies, and may be subject to deductibles and co-insurance. Please contact your insurance provider with questions concerning your coverage.


Breast Ultrasound
To complete your breast imaging evaluation, the radiologist may recommend a breast ultrasound at the time of your diagnostic mammogram appointment. This is an imaging technique that uses sound waves to look at anatomical structures within the breast and can supplement a mammogram evaluation by helping the radiologist characterize the tissue he or she is evaluating. The use of ultrasound helps the radiologist to avoid recommending unnecessary surgical procedures and make a comprehensive diagnosis. While breast ultrasound is often used as a supplemental diagnostic tool, it is not an adequate screening option and should not be used to replace mammography.


I have breast implants. Can I still get a mammogram?

Most women with implants can have excellent mammography. Because of the additional views necessary in women with implants, these women should expect to have twice as many pictures taken of each breast. They should not be excluded from screening because of the implants.


When and how will I receive my results?

A letter will be mailed to you within 30 days giving the final assessment results as mandated by the FDA. A delay can occur when comparison films are not available at the time of service. If the you are required to return for additional imaging, we will notify you by phone.


Why does your office need my previous mammogram films?

One of the most important parts of mammography is proving stability over time. This is done by having the radiologist compare the old exam with the new exam to exclude subtle differences in the breast tissue. The actual mammography films are needed for this, not just the report.


Do I have to have an order for a six month follow up even though it was recommended by the Radiologist?

Yes. The radiologist can only recommend that you have a follow up appointment. The referring physician still has to provide an order for this procedure to be done.


Does a 6 month follow up need to be a bilateral or unilateral mammogram?

You should have a bilateral mammogram only once per year unless there is a clinical finding in both breasts. If you have a bilateral mammogram with a finding in one breast, the six-month follow up should only be of the affected breast. You should then return after another six months for a yearly bilateral mammogram. Baseline mammograms should be bilateral so the radiologist can compare for symmetry of breast tissue.


Should a patient under 30 years old with a breast lump, have a mammogram or breast Ultrasound?

In general, patients under 30 with a breast lump should have an ultrasound first. The mammogram will be determined by the radiologist based on the ultrasound findings. In most patients under 30, the breast tissue is very dense and difficult to image effectively. Patients over 30 should have a bilateral mammogram and the need for ultrasound will be determined by the radiologist based on the mammographic findings. To limit phone calls and patient wait time, order both. Breast ultrasound is used for a specific finding, usually a palpable lump or a mammographic abnormality and is not indicated for screening.


Once I have a diagnostic or abnormal mammogram, do my future mammograms always need to be diagnostic?

No. The radiologist will investigate clinical symptoms and will follow any mammographic and/or sonography findings until they can say that it is either benign or needs to be biopsied. If you have a biopsy that is benign, you may return to having screening mammograms at your surgeon’s discretion.


Can I have a screening Ultrasound if I do not like having mammograms?

Unfortunately, no you cannot. Mammograms and ultrasounds image breast tissue differently. Not everything that is seen on a mammogram can be seen on an ultrasound. The standard of care dictates that mammography is the imaging modality of choice for breast cancer screening. Other modalities are used only when there is a clinical indication.



Patient Preparations


You may not have any lotion, powder, deodorant, or oil on breast or underarm area.

*Please bring any prior breast imaging films to your exam.



You may not have any lotion, powder, deodorant, or oil on breast or underarm area.

*Please bring any prior breast imaging films to your exam.



You may not have any lotion, powder, deodorant, or oil on breast or underarm area.

*Please bring any prior breast imaging films to your exam.