Also called digital breast tomosynthesis, a 3-D mammogram takes multiple X-ray images and uses computer technology to construct a three-dimensional image of the breast tissue. The technology is becoming more available, so you may be wondering if your next mammogram should be done in 3-D.
Below, we share five facts about 3-D mammography so you know how it differs from a regular mammogram and if you should consider scheduling one.
1. A 3-D mammogram works like a CT scan.
Like a CT scan, a 3-D mammogram creates multiple X-ray images so radiologists can look at cross-sectional views of breast tissue. This is different from a regular 2-D mammogram, which only creates an image through the front and side of the breast. Cross-sectional views show more detail and can make it easier to find breast cancer.
2. A 3-D mammogram is more accurate than a regular mammogram.
Though researchers are still studying the overall value of 3-D mammography versus 2-D mammography, several studies show that the technology is more accurate at finding breast cancer early. This is especially true for women with dense breast tissue, which can potentially hide cancer on a 2-D mammogram.
3. Anyone can get a 3-D mammogram.
While 2-D mammography is still the gold standard of breast cancer screening, you can request a 3-D mammogram when scheduling your annual mammogram. You don't have to have dense breast tissue or a doctor's order, but be sure to check with your insurance company regarding coverage.
4. A 3-D mammogram appointment is exactly the same as a regular mammogram appointment.
You prepare the same way, and the exam is similar. The technologist still asks you to undress from the waist up, and your breasts are still compressed. The only difference is the 3-D mammography machine moves above your breasts in an arc to take multiple images and the exam takes just a few seconds longer.
5. A 3-D mammogram does expose you to slightly more radiation than a regular mammogram.
Getting a 3-D mammogram just slightly increases the radiation dose over a traditional 2-D mammogram but, according to the American Cancer Society, is similar to the amount of radiation you come into contact with in the natural environment over seven weeks.
Interested in scheduling a 3-D mammogram? We offer digital 3-D mammograms at our Montgomery, Mt. Auburn, Red Bank, and Liberty Township breast imaging locations. Call 513-585-2668 to learn more and schedule an appointment, or schedule an appointment online.