Direct Digital Mammography
Digital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography (FFDM), is a mammography system in which the x-ray film is replaced by electronics that convert x-rays into mammographic pictures of the breast. These systems are similar to those found in digital cameras and their efficiency enables better pictures with a lower radiation dose. These images of the breast are transferred to the PACS system for review by the radiologist.
Computer-aided detection (CAD) systems search digitized mammographic images for abnormal areas of density, mass, or calcification that may indicate the presence of cancer. The CAD system highlights these areas on the images, alerting the radiologist to carefully assess this area. Every mammogram performed at this facility includes CAD.
Screening Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast before a patient or physician can feel them. Women age 40 and older are advised to get a yearly mammogram. Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available.
Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings—such as a breast lump, pain or nipple discharge—that have been found by the woman or her doctor.
Diagnostic mammography may also be done after an abnormal screening mammogram in order to evaluate the area of concern on the screening exam. A breast ultrasound may accompany a diagnostic mammogram.
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.
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.
No deodorants or powders the day of the test. We have wipes for your convenience if you choose to use them before your mammogram.
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