What is a Mammogram?
Mammography is an x-ray examination of breast tissue. The image produced is called a mammogram. In most cases, mammograms are performed as a screening study, to detect breast cancer before it becomes large enough to be felt. Mammograms are also performed to try to determine the nature of lumps felt on palpation. There is a small amount of radiation exposure with mammography, but the benefits of this test far outweigh any risks.
Preparing for Mammograms
Schedule the test for one week after your period when your breasts are less tender. Also make sure to let our staff know if your last mammogram was done somewhere else so that we can take steps to obtain your prior mammograms for comparison with the current exam. On the morning of your exam, do not use antiperspirants, as most contain metallic powders that interfere with the mammogram. Wear a blouse, shirt or sweater that you can remove easily.
Precautions and Contraindications
Pregnancy - Radiation may be dangerous to an unborn child. Tell your doctor, our office personnel, or the technologist if you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant.
Let the Technologist know if:
- You are pregnant or think you may be
- You have breast implants
- You have any scars or moles on or near your breasts
- You have had breast biopsy or surgery
- You are breast-feeding
During Your Exam
You will need to undress from the waist up. During the exam, each of your breasts will be compressed to take images, usually two per breast. You may feel some discomfort, but compression helps get the most complete x-ray image. Once the exam is done, the technologist may have you wait a few minutes to make sure the images are technically satisfactory.
The results of your mammogram will generally be available within 1 to 2 days. A report will be sent directly to your doctor. You will also receive a letter within 30 days describing the results of your test and any recommendations for follow-up.