Imaging Services

Screening Mammograms

A Screening Mammogram is a routine radiologic examination of both breasts performed on a woman who does not have symptoms of breast disease, is not at high risk for breast cancer, and has no present or recurrent breast related problems for the purpose of early detection of breast cancer.

Screening Mammograms are also performed on women who are at high risk for breast cancer, including those with a family history of breast cancer; women who gave birth after age 30 or who never gave birth; or women who have had a history of biopsy-proven benign breast disease.

A regular schedule of screening mammograms offers women the best way of detecting cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions early, when treatment can be most effective.

Screening Mammogram guidelines

  • Annual Mammograms and clinical breast examinations are presently the best means for early detection resulting in effective treatment of breast cancer.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women undergo at least one baseline screening Mammogram between 35 and 40, while women 40 years and older should schedule an exam annually.

How to prepare for your Screening Mammogram

  • You should schedule your Screening Mammogram one-week after your menstrual period begins, when the breasts will be least tender.
  • If this is your first exam at our center, be sure to bring any previous studies so that the Radiologist can review them along with the current study for any changes.
  • On the day of your Mammogram, avoid using deodorant and lotions.
  • Wear two-piece clothing to make undressing more convenient.

When you have your Screening Mammogram

  • You will complete your detailed medical history form.
  • Be escorted into an exam room to prepare for your Mammogram.
  • Meet with our Certified Mammogram Technologist to perform your test.

Diagnostic Mammograms

A Diagnostic Mammogram is technically the same radiologic procedure as a Screening Mammogram. The main difference is that this procedure focuses on the signs or symptoms of breast disease – including pain, nipple discharge, masses or lumps, etc.; a personal history of breast cancer, endometrial cancer of unknown origin; or breast implants/augmentation that were presented in the Screening Mammogram or other doctor visits.

Ultrasounds

Most often, doctors order a breast ultrasound exam to answer a specific question about a particular area of the breast. Such questions might arise when:

  • A mammogram shows an abnormality
  • A physical examination of the breast discovers a lump
  • A breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test reveals a suspicious area

While a targeted breast ultrasound can be a helpful diagnostic tool, it is not done as part of a routine screening.

How Ultrasound Works

Ultrasonography uses sound waves, instead of radiation or x-rays, to create an image of part of the body. An ultrasound offers more information than a mammogram, which is a special x-ray of the breast. For example, an ultrasound is particularly useful in distinguishing fluids from solids, so it is often used to detect cysts (small fluid-filled structures within the breast).

What to Expect

The ultrasound is painless and will take about 30 minutes. You will lie on your back and the ultrasound technician will put some clear gel on the breast to be examined. This helps the transducer, a small device that the technician holds, make better contact with the skin. The technician will move the transducer back and forth over your breast. As it moves, it sends out silent sound waves. The waves are then reflected back to the transducer, analyzed, and converted into a picture called a sonogram that displays on a monitor.

Ultrasound Guided Biopsy

(ALSO KNOW AS VACUUM ASSISTED MAMMOTOME BIOPSY)

This procedure is used for abnormalities that are smaller, may not be felt by hand, but can be seen on ultrasound. Patient is awake, lying comfortably on the examination table, in the ultrasound suite. Live ultrasound images are used to direct the surgeon to the abnormality for biopsy. A small (less than ½ inch) incision is made, after the breast is numb, and a biopsy device connected to a vacuum system is passed into the breast, taking a very small sample of tissue. Suction is used to gently draw the tissue out to the collection tray. A small titanium tissue marker is inserted exactly where the tissue was removed. This process takes about 20 minutes. Pressure and ice are applied. No sutures (stitches) are needed and results are available in 48-72 hours. May return to work the next day.