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 various Hoag locations
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 more information