A digital mammogram is a special x-ray of the breast. It is used to find possible cancers. As x-rays pass through the breast, images are acquired. These images will help radiologists determine if cancer is present or not. A screening digital mammogram is performed if there are no symptoms or issues. Women age 40 and older are advised to get a yearly mammogram. A diagnostic digital mammogram on the other hand is programmed if there are potential issues.
How Digital Mammogram Works
Minimal radiation is used to create an interior breast tissue image. Images are developed in a machine similar to how negatives from film cameras are produced.
Digital Mammogram Benefits and Risks
Digital mammogram permits doctors to detect small tumors, thus, allowing earlier treatment. Digital mammography is also the only effective means to detect ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS. These are tiny abnormal tissues growing in the milk ducts. They pose no threat when detected and removed early.
As for risks, the radiation exposure is minimal and well within safety guidelines. There is also a risk of false positive digital mammogram which happens in 5-10% of all procedures. In such occurrences, further testing may be required.
Digital Mammogram Process
During a digital mammogram process, the breast is covered between two plastic pieces in front of the x-ray machine. It softly compresses the breast in order to expose breast tissues. The process may be a little painful but is necessary for a precise examination. The pain disappears immediately. Since breast tenderness is common prior to menstruation, it is best to avoid digital mammogram exam at this time to prevent added distress.
Digital Mammogram Preparation
You should bring your prior mammogram from any other centers for comparative purposes. Do not apply deodorant, cream, or powder on the area during the exam.
Wear a two piece outfit as well since the process requires you to remove upper clothing.
Digital Mammogram Results
Viera Diagnostic Center quickly interprets results due to the presence of a radiologist all the time. Results will be sent via phone, fax, mail, or electronic means to the receiving doctor. He or she will then discuss the results with you.
How do I prepare for my Mammography exam?MAMMOGRAPHY:
No deodorants or powders the day of the test. We have wipes for your convenience if you choose to use them before your mammogram.