What is mammography? Mammography is a radiographic image of the breasts. 3-D Tomosynthesis is a specific type of mammogram imaging that allows for better imaging within the breast tissue and is becoming the standard of care; we were early adopters of this technology and have offered it at the Good Samaritan breast health center since 2012. This improved technology allows for detection of smaller lesions, especially within dense breast tissue. Screening mammograms are recommended annually for women beginning at age of 40; patients with risk factors including genetic mutations or family history may be advised to begin screening at an earlier age. Diagnostic mammograms are performed when a patient has specific symptoms, such as a lump, discharge, or pain, or for further evaluation of a concerning finding on screening mammography.
How is mammography performed? During the procedure, the patient stands and each breast is imaged with low-dose x-rays. Our technologists are trained to use an appropriate amount of compression to create the best image, with consideration for the comfort of the patient. The radiation dose is very low; the dose from a screening mammogram is comparable to flying round trip from Portland to Paris, or living at high altitude (e.g. Denver CO) for 3 weeks.
What is a breast ultrasound? A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of internal breast structures. This procedure can help to diagnose lumps or abnormalities in the breast tissue. It is often used together with mammography to best evaluate the breast tissue.
How is a breast ultrasound performed? A small transducer with gel is placed directly on the skin to create the image of the breast tissue.
What is a breast MRI? Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, uses a magnetic field, radio waves, and computer reconstruction to produce a picture of both breasts. It is often used in addition to mammography or breast ultrasound for high risk screening as well as for further evaluation and staging of known breast cancer.
How is an MRI performed? During a breast MRI, the patient lies on their stomach on a motorized bed that moves within a cylindrical scanner. Because of the strong magnetic fields, you’ll be asked to remove jewelry, piercings, dentures, and hearing aids. The tech will also ask if you have any metal implants. An IV is placed beforehand, and gadolinium contrast is injected during the exam to optimize evaluation of the breast tissue.