Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.

Recent advances in mammography include digital mammography, computer-aided detection, and 3D mammography.

Digital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography (FFDM), is a mammography system in which the x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electrical signals. These detectors are similar to those found in digital cameras. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breast that can be seen on a computer screen or printed on special film similar to conventional mammograms. From the patient's point of view, having a digital mammogram is essentially the same as having a conventional film screen mammogram.

Computer-aided detection (CAD) systems use a digitized mammography image that can be obtained from either a conventional film mammogram or a digitally acquired mammogram. The computer software then searches for abnormal areas of density, mass, or calcification that may indicate the presence of cancer. The CAD system highlights these areas on the images, alerting the radiologist to the need for further analysis.

3D mammography (Tomosynthesis) takes detailed images in very thin sections of the breast giving better resolution of the breast tissue.

Having a successful exam

Please do not where deodorant, lotion, perfume or any other substance on your skin.

Please bring any prior mammogram films with you at your appointment time.  If prior films were not taken locally, please come in to our center prior to your appointment to sign a release form so we can have them sent here by your appointment date.


3D Tomosynthesis

The 3D mammogram (known as Tomosynthesis) is the most significant change in the way mammograms are done since the industry started going digital decades ago.  3D Tomo has been available outside the U.S. for many years and was approved a few years ago by the FDA.  The research data show that 3D Tomo reduces call-backs for additional images, reduces false positives, and increases cancer detection in all breast types but most notably in dense breasts.

SDI is the first facility in the region to have 100% 3D imaging capability on all of its mammography machines.  We believe that every woman should have access to the latest technology.

The 3D portion of the exam is technically an additional exam.  Some insurance plans are lagging behind in updating coverage and may not pay for the exam.  Keep this in mind when open-enrollment comes around.  If your current plan does not take women's health seriously, perhaps it is time to move to a plan that does.  We have many patients that are part of HMO's that do not have 3D Tomo (Kaiser, Sutter) that come to SDI for the latest technology and pay out-of-pocket.

Please check with your insurance plan provider to see if Tomosynthesis is covered for screening mammography.