A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray examination of the breast tissue. Mammograms
are commonly performed to look for breast cancer, but also can detect
non-cancerous masses, cysts, calcifications and sometimes breast implant
ruptures. Traditional analog mammograms are recorded and stored on X-ray
film. With digital mammography, the images are recorded and stored on
computerized media. The method of performing the exam and the image quality
are identical for analog and digital mammography.
A new, FDA-approved imaging modality available at Hoag Breast Center in
Newport Beach and Hoag Imaging and Breast Center in Irvine (Hoag Health
Center-Woodbridge) is Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT), or 3D Mammography.
Recent trials have shown Tomosynthesis to be a more accurate method for
detecting early breast cancers in women with radiographically dense breast
tissue compared to traditional 2D mammography alone. Tomosynthesis captures
15 digital “projection” images as it arcs over the breast,
during a short four-second scan. These images are then digitally reconstructed
into a series of high-resolution one millimeter slices that can be reviewed
individually or played back in a cine loop. At Hoag, Tomosynthesis does
not cost more than a traditional mammogram and requires a prescription
from your physician.
Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) is routinely used at Hoag and Newport Imaging
Center to further review all screening and most diagnostic mammograms.
After a radiologist has viewed your mammogram images, a specially designed
CAD computer program scans the images and identifies areas that may require
greater scrutiny. This technology, which is like having a second set of
eyes review your mammogram, helps your radiologist detect these abnormalities.
Mammography is the most reliable screening method for breast cancer detection
available today. The American Cancer Society, the American College of
Radiology and the American Medical Association recommend an annual mammogram
for women who are 40 years of age and older. The combination of regular
mammography, an annual physical exam by your personal physician and monthly
breast self-examination (BSE) is considered the best way to detect breast
cancer early and save women’s lives.
What to Expect
At Hoag, all mammograms are performed by female technologists who have
special training and licensing from the state of California. All of our
centers are inspected annually by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
to ensure that we comply with the regulations of the Mammography Quality
The type of mammogram that your physician orders will depend on your history
and any symptoms that you may have.
screening mammogram is performed on women who have no signs or symptoms of disease. Typically,
two images of each breast are taken. Larger-breasted women may require
diagnostic mammogram is performed on women or men who have a symptom, such as a lump, pain
or a nipple discharge, or a personal history of breast cancer. Diagnostic
mammography also is performed when a screening mammogram shows an area
that needs a more detailed look. The type and number of views taken will
be customized to your situation.
Implant “push-back” views may be added to either type of mammogram,
for women who have breast implants. These special views are taken to reveal
as much breast tissue as possible by gently maneuvering the implant out
of the way.
For screening mammograms, you will be in the center for approximatley 30
minutes. For diagnostic exams, you may be at the center for up to one hour.
How to Prepare
When you schedule your appointment, we will inform you about any specific
preparations depending upon the specific procedure your doctor has ordered.
Please contact the Scheduling Department at 949.764-5573 if you have any
No powder, perfumes, lotions or deodorants should be used between the neck
and waist. A two-piece outfit is recommended to be worn. You will be given
a gown to wear during your exam. At that time, you will be asked to cleanse
your breasts and underarm area so that it is free of any powder, deodorant
or antiperspirant. Particles from those materials may mimic calcifications
on the images, so this cleansing step is extremely important for accurate imaging.
We encourage pre-menopausal women to schedule a screening mammogram during
the two weeks following the menstrual cycle. Many women’s breasts
are less tender then, thereby reducing the possibility of discomfort during
While X-rays at this dosage are generally safe, unborn fetuses are more
vulnerable to cell damage from them. If you are pregnant, or think you
may be pregnant, we can modify the exam or postpone it if necessary. The
radiologist and/or your physician will make that decision.
Please bring prior outside mammogram films with you.
Please complete, print out and bring with you the following forms to your
Outpatient Medication Reconciliation form
(for Breast Center and Interventional Procedures) - Download PDF
Breast History Questionnaire -
For more information
Side Effects/Follow-Up Care
Side effects and complications
Generally, no complications occur. Very rarely, some soreness or bruising
may occur for a short time.
The mammography exam itself requires no follow-up care. Your physician
will receive a report of your examination within one week, and you will
receive a letter describing results within one month. If the radiologist
makes a recommendation for any further imaging, you may be contacted by
our office within a week.
Locations where Hoag provides Mammography services