Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography)
At Sharp, we offer a specialized breast cancer screening called tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography. This diagnostic tool can uncover breast abnormalities unseen in traditional mammograms, allowing doctors to detect breast cancer earlier.
Benefits of tomosynthesis.
Tomosynthesis uses high-powered computing to generate a 3D reconstruction of the breast, providing clearer, more accurate views of breast tissue. Like any organ, breasts are three dimensional — made of tissue, milk ducts, fat and blood vessels at varying depths. With tomosynthesis, small cancers are better detected behind dense tissue, and overlapping tissues can't fool us into thinking there is an abnormality when there is not.
Because 3D tomosynthesis provides a layer-by-layer view of breast tissue, it is especially effective for women with dense breasts, which can hide cancers and other abnormalities behind less fatty tissue. Roughly 40 percent of U.S. women have dense breasts, and most don't know it.
Frequently asked questions about 3D mammograms.
What can I expect during my 3D mammography?
You can expect a similar experience to a traditional screening. The technologist will position you on an X-ray machine, compress your breast and take images. Instead of taking pictures of your breast from two angles — up and down, and left and right — 3D mammography takes multiple images of each breast from many angles. A computer then produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility of your breast tissue.
There is no additional compression with 3D, and it only takes a few extra seconds. The technologist will work with you to ensure a comfortable mammography experience and to help eliminate any apprehension you may have.
How much time does it take?
The tomosynthesis procedure is no different than having a conventional mammogram. Your typical appointment will be no more than 30 minutes.
Is 3D mammography safe?
The 3D tomosynthesis exam is comparable to conventional 2D mammograms when using low-dose radiation software.
What happens after my 3D mammogram?
A board-certified radiologist reads your 3D mammogram. The radiologist's report is then delivered to your doctor. You can expect to receive your screening mammography results by mail within a week.
When should I receive a 3D mammogram?
Annual mammograms should begin when a woman turns 40. This recommendation is supported by respected medical societies including the American Cancer Society, American College of Radiology, American Society of Breast Surgeons and others.
Request a 3D mammogram.
Tomosynthesis screenings are available at Sharp Memorial Hospital and through Grossmont Imaging, a partnership of X-Ray Medical Group and Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
At Sharp Memorial, screenings take place inside the Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion's Outpatient Imaging Center, a designated Breast Imaging Center of Excellence. Women interested in receiving a 3D mammogram should talk to their primary care physician or call the center at 858-939-5100.
At Sharp Grossmont, screenings take place at Grossmont Imaging, which is dedicated to providing the highest quality imaging and interventional services available - utilizing state-of-the-art equipment in conjunction with advanced, cutting-edge techniques. Please contact your primary care physician or make an appointment by calling 619-461-1830.
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