3D mammography (tomosynthesis) is a revolutionary, state-of-the-art screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection. During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over your breast, taking multiple breast images. Then, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one-millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible. They can scroll through images of your entire breast like pages of a book. The 3D images make it possible for a radiologist to gain a better understanding of your breast tissue during screening and the confidence to reduce the need for follow-up imaging.
With conventional digital mammography, the radiologist views all the complexities of your breast tissue in one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion of normal breast tissue looking like an abnormal area. By looking at the breast tissue in one-millimeter slices, the radiologist can provide a more confident assessment. In this way, 3D mammography finds cancers missed with conventional 2D mammography. It also means there is less chance your doctor will call you back later for a “second look,” because now they can see breast tissue more clearly.
A screening mammogram is your annual mammogram that is done every year. Patients presenting for this routine exam will be asymptomatic (having no breast issues or problems). A diagnostic mammogram can result from an abnormal screening mammogram or can be ordered for a patient with a breast issue.
3D mammography complements standard 2D mammography and is performed at the same time with the same system. There is no additional compression required, and it only takes a few more seconds longer for each view.
Very low X-ray energy is used during the exam, just about the same amount as a traditional mammogram done on film.
It is approved for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram, in both the screening and diagnostic settings.