Beth Israsel Deaconess Hospital - Plymouth

          

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Digital Mammography

What is mammography?
What is it like to have a mammogram
Is there anything I have to do before I get a mammogram?
What is digital mammography?
What are the benefits of digital mammography?
Does mammography find all breast cancers?
How do I make an appointment?
What happens if something is found on my screening mammogram?
What happens if something is found on my diagnostic mammogram?

What is mammography?

Mammography is a detailed x-ray of the breast. It creates an image of tissue inside the breast. It is used to find lumps, tumors, or other abnormalities that are too small to find by feel alone.

A screening mammogram is a routine test to look at breast tissue without any physical abnormalities or symptoms. Standard images of the breast are obtained. It can detect a cancerous or precancerous lump before it can be found on clinical examination. It will also serve as a baseline for future mammograms.

A diagnostic mammogram is done to evaluate physical findings or symptoms noted by the patient or her physician. Standard images are obtained as well as ones focused on the area in question. To obtain a good picture, the breast is compressed firmly to keep it from moving. Sometimes the patient’s breast is repositioned and additional pictures are taken – do not be concerned. It is common for patients to need additional studies such as ultrasound or breast MRI.

What is it like to have a mammogram?

When you arrive for your appointment, you will be escorted to a private changing area. You will be provided with a gown and asked to remove your clothing from the waist up. You can expect that the appointment will take about 30 minutes. The technologist will ask you to stand in front of the mammogram unit and she will position your breast on the image receptor. A clear plastic paddle will compress your breast tightly to spread the breast tissue and prevent motion. This will provide us with quality images that are best for interpretation. The compression will be tight but should not hurt. The paddle will release automatically when the image has been taken. The technologist will assist in positioning you for the remaining views. We would encourage you to ask questions you may have about your exam. The technologist will be happy to answer them and will try to make you as comfortable as possible.

Is there anything I have to do before I get a mammogram?

You will be asked to fill out a patient history and indicate if there are any other members of your family that have had breast problems. If possible you should try to schedule your mammogram for the week after your menses (period).

On the day of the test, do not wear perfume, powder, or deodorant. Perfume, powder, or deodorant can create an artifact that can appear like an abnormality. You will also be asked to remove any jewelry around your neck, so you may want to leave it at home.

What is digital mammography?

A digital mammogram is performed the same way as a regular film screen (analog) mammogram. The only difference is that the images go directly to the computer and not on film. Compression is still required.

What are the benefits of digital mammography?

Recent studies have shown that digital mammography may increase the possibility of finding breast cancer in women ages 40-50, women with dense breasts, and women who are pre-menopausal or peri-menopausal. Digital mammography also allows the radiologist to electronically manipulate the digital images which may improve clarity.

Does mammography find all breast cancers?

No, it does not. Ten percent of all cancers are not found by mammography therefore self breast exam and physician clinical exam are critical components to breast health for diagnosis and surveillance. However, every woman is different and not all cancers act the same way. The best way to detect breast cancer is by combining your self breast-exam, your doctor’s breast exam, and a mammogram.

How do I make an appointment?

For breast health imaging, simply call 508.803.3000. One of our dedicated breast health team members will assist you.

What happens if something is found on my screening mammogram?

Our goal is to contact you within two business days (48 hours) of your results if additional mammographic views are needed, an appointment for these is scheduled. Many times the additional mammographic views indicate the area is not of true concern. At other times, they more clearly show an area of abnormality. The doctor may want to order another imaging study, and if needed, a biopsy. The results of the mammograms and other tests will be discussed with you before you leave the Center.

What happens if something is found on my diagnostic mammogram?

Additional imaging, such as an ultrasound, or biopsy may be required. If so, it will be explained at that time and scheduled. Before leaving the Center, your results will be reviewed with you.

Breast Health Center
at
Beth Israel Deaconess - Plymouth
275 Sandwich Street
Plymouth, MA 02360


To schedule a
mammogram, call
(508) 830-3000


To reach Dr. Lisa Tito call:
(508) 746-1259

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