Digital Mammography

Digital Mammography is a specialized procedure specifically designed to image breast tissue. Specialized imaging systems dedicated to performing mammography have been created. Digital Mammography performed with modern dedicated equipment can detect cancers when they are very small in diameter.

When correctly performed according to the current standards, mammography requires that the breast be compressed (flatten) between the breast support and compression paddle. There are at least seven advantages to compressing the breasts, which contribute to significantly improved image quality and lower radiation dose. Compression decreases the thickness of the breast, which results in less scattered radiation and thus, higher image contrast.

Breast compression may be uncomfortable for some patients; however, a properly trained mammography technologist will be able to obtain the benefits of compression without causing excessive pain.

The mammography section here at Laurel Radiology Services is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Food & Drug Administration. The accreditation process ensures that we perform mammograms that meet the highest national standards. Breast mammogram and sonogram are also performed on men.

A mammogram is an x-ray image of the breast. Mammography is the procedure used to generate a mammogram.

The equipment used to obtain a mammogram, however, is very different from that used to perform an x-ray of your chest or bones. The breast is composed of tissues that are similar to each other in density. Changes or abnormalities in your breast tissue are often very subtle. Therefore, the mammogram machines, film, and developing process are specially designed to take pictures of these subtle differences.

In order to get a good image, your breast must also be flattened or compressed. This may be uncomfortable, but it will not harm your breast in any way and is extremely important for obtaining a clear image. Compression of the breast is also beneficial because it results in a lower dose of radiation.

In a standard examination, two images of each breast are taken--one from the top (called a cranio-caudal or CC view) and one from the side (called a mediolateral oblique or MLO view). This ensures that the images display as much breast tissue as possible.

You may have heard of several different "types" of mammograms, such as baseline, screening, and diagnostic. The differences are simple. Your baseline mammogram is simply your initial or first mammogram. Baseline images are used for comparison to later studies. Changes in your breast are often subtle, and radiologists often compare a new image to a previous image while evaluating a suspected change. Screening mammograms are routine mammography examinations in which the patient has no symptoms. Diagnostic mammograms are studies in which the patient does have a symptom, such as a lump, tenderness, or thickening of the tissue.

Annual Mammography Screening can be a self-referral.

All Results Within 24 Hours or Less