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3D Mammography

Breast Tomosynthesis:
A 3D Mammogram

Today, a new technology called breast tomosynthesis - or 3D mammography - can help doctors find very small cancers and rule out "false positives" – reducing the number of women who are called back for diagnostic mammograms. This technology is available at St. Catherine Hospital, St. Mary Medical Center and the Valparaiso Health Center of St. Mary Medical Center

Breast tomosynthesis allows doctors to examine breast tissue one layer at a time. It may be used in conjunction with traditional digital mammography as part of your annual screening mammogram to capture more breast images. Very low X-ray energy is used during the screening examination so your radiation exposure is safely below the American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines.

Breast tomosynthesis uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or "slices" – building what is essentially a "3-dimensional mammogram". The radiologist can see breast tissue detail in a way never before possible.  Instead of viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue in a flat image, the doctor can examine the tissue a millimeter at a time.  Fine details are more clearly visible with this technology, no longer hidden by the tissue above and below.

A 3D mammogram exam is very similar to a traditional mammogram.  Just as with a digital mammogram, the technologist will position your compress your breast under a paddle and take images from different angles. The whole procedure time should be approximately the same as that of a digital mammogram. 

View the video below which explains the process of a 3D mammogram.