3-D mammography is a new technology in the fight against breast cancer that allows doctors to examine your breast tissue one layer at a time. A 3-D mammography exam may be used as a screening tool in conjunction with a traditional digital mammogram or may be used by itself for a diagnostic mammogram.
A 3-D mammogram is very similar to a traditional, 2-D, or digital, mammogram. Just like with a digital mammogram, the technologist will position you, compress your breast under a paddle and take images from different angles
During the exam, the x-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images in just seconds. The radiologist is then able to view your breast tissue in one millimeter layers. Instead of viewing all the complexities of your breast tissues on one flat image, the doctor can examine the tissue one page or slice at a time.
There is no additional compression required with 3-D mammography, and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view. The technologist will view the images at their computer workstation to ensure they have captured adequate images for review by a radiologist, who studies them and reports results to your physician. Very low x-ray energy is used during the screening examination so your radiation exposure is below the FDA guidelines.
Do not wear deodorant, powder or cream on your breasts or underarms the day of your exam as these may interfere with the quality of your mammogram. If possible, it is preferable to wear a two-piece outfit.
If you have sensitive breasts, scheduling your mammogram between the 7th and 10th day following the onset of your most recent menstrual period may be beneficial, as this is the time your breasts will be least tender.
Inform your doctor and technologist of any new problems with your breasts, prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer.
Inform your doctor and technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.