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Home > Medical Services > Women's Health > Mammography & Breast Health > 3D Mammography
Successful treatment and survival rates for breast cancer patients are dramatically affected by early detection. Annual screenings after the age of 40 and clear pictures allow our Women's Center team to detect cancer early and save lives.
The addition of the Hologic Selenia® Dimensions® 3D Mammography to our 2D digital mammography provides another technologically advanced option for women, and provides physicians with an added dimension when examining images of the breast. The result is a more comprehensive and clearer view of the entire breast structures, such as milk ducts, fat and ligaments.
3D mammography allows doctors to examine the breast tissue one layer at a time. The exam uses digital breast images and stacks them into “slices,” building a three-dimensional mammogram. A good analogy is to think of the pages in a book. If you look down at the cover, you cannot see all of the pages. But, when you open it up, you can go through the entire book page-by-page to read everything between the covers and see the whole story. 3D mammography is designed with the same concept in mind.
Although all women could benefit from the 3D technology, it is particularly effective for women with dense breast tissue and those with an increased risk for breast cancer. It is performed in conjunction with a conventional 2D mammogram.
3D mammography offers a number of benefits, including:
A 3D mammogram is very similar to a traditional mammogram. Just as with a digital mammogram, the technologist will position you, compress your breast under a paddle and take images from different angles. A 3D mammography exam may be used as a screening tool in conjunction with a traditional digital mammogram or may be used by itself for a diagnostic mammogram.
During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images in just seconds. You doctor is able to view your breast tissue in one millimeter layers. Instead of viewing all of the complexities of your breast in one flat image, the doctor can examine the tissue one “slice” at a time.
There is no additional compression required with 3D mammography and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view. The technologist will view the images at their computer work station to ensure they have captured adequate images for review by a radiologist, who studies them and reports results to either your physician or directly to you.
Most insurance companies will pay a large portion of the cost of the 3D mammogram. Patients may incur an additional $40 out-of-pocket cost for the exam.
3D mammography is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram.During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over your breast, taking multiple breast images. Then, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible. They can scroll through images of your entire breast like pages of a book.The additional 3D images make it possible for a radiologist to gain a better understanding of your breast tissue during screening and the confidence to reduce the need for follow-up imaging.
With conventional digital mammography, the radiologist is viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue in a one flat image. Sometimes, breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion of normal breast tissue looking like an abnormal area.By looking at the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, the radiologist can provide a more confident assessment. In this way, 3D mammography finds cancers missed with conventional 2D mammography. It also means there is less chance your doctor will call you back later for a "second look," because now he or she can see breast tissue more clearly.
A screening mammogram is your annual mammogram that is done every year. Sometimes, the radiologist may ask you to come back for follow-up images, which is called a diagnostic mammogram to rule out any unclear areas in the breast or if there is a breast complaint that needs to be evaluated.
3D mammography complements the standard 2D mammography and is performed at the same time with the same system. There is no additional compression required and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view.
Very low X-ray energy is used for the exam, just about the same amount as a traditional mammogram done on film.
It is approved for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram, in both the screening and diagnostic settings. Women with larger breasts may not be suitable for 3D mammography due to limitations of the equipment and it may not provide additional benefit as it does other women given the traditional makeup of tissue within larger breasts. In those cases, the doctor will decide if it is appropriate and discuss with the patient which mammogram would provide the clearest screening.