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UR Medicine / Imaging / Breast Imaging / Services / 3D Mammography/Tomosynthesis


3D Mammography/Tomosynthesis

What is 3D Mammography/Tomosynthesis?

Tomosynthesis mammography is also known as 3D mammography. It’s a new method of screening for breast cancer. The test involves taking several X-rays of each breast from various angles to create a detailed 3D image.

Studies have shown that Tomosynthesis finds invasive cancers at a 40% higher rate than regular mammograms. It can also pinpoint hard to find cancers that may otherwise be unnoticed, particularly in areas of dense tissue.

Why might I need 3D Mammography?

3D mammography can benefit all women; however, your doctor is more likely to suggest a 3D mammogram if you have dense breast tissue.

What are the risks of 3D Mammography?

Excessive exposure to radiation carries a slight risk of causing cancer. Standard mammography and Tomosynthesis mammography both involve the use of radiation to produce images. However, some Tomosynthesis systems may use slightly higher doses. Our specialists take care to use the lowest dose of radiation needed to produce the best images.

How do I get ready for 3D Mammography?

You should always talk to your Primary Care provider or OB/GYN about any new concerns, lumps in your breast, prior surgeries or personal/family history of breast cancer. In preparation for your procedure we suggest the following:

  • Inform the X-ray technologist if there is any chance you could be pregnant.
  • Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder, or lotion under your arms or on your breasts the day of the exam.
  • Tell the X-ray technologist about any symptoms you’re experiencing in your breasts.
  • If you had prior mammograms performed at another location, please let us know, so we can have them sent to us.

What happens during 3D Mammography?

During Tomosynthesis, your breast is positioned between two plates, just like a regular mammogram. The upper plate lowers to gradually compress your breast. Then, an X-ray tube moves in a circular arc from one side of your breast to the other. While it moves around your breast, it takes images from many different angles. As soon as it finishes moving, the pressure is released from your breast.

What happens after 3D Mammography?

After your procedure, a technologist converts the X-ray images into a three-dimensional image of your breast. Once the image is complete, a radiologist will analyze and interpret the image and send a detailed report to your Primary Care provider and/or OB/GYN. You should receive results within two business days.

What are the costs of 3D Mammography?

Most insurance carriers consider 3D mammography a covered service. Please check with your insurance company prior to your appointment to make sure it is covered.