3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis)

A 3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis) mammogram may be requested by your referring doctor to gain information about a current breast symptom or as a follow up test to an existing condition.

  • About Mammography

    Mammograms may also be requested if you have a strong family history of breast cancer. Mammography plays an important role in the early detection of breast cancer because it can show changes in the breast long before they can be felt.

    3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis) is new breast imaging technology that has been proven to improve the accuracy in diagnosis of breast cancer. It is performed as part of a diagnostic mammogram examination. In addition to the standard mammographic views, a specialised view (tomographic) is taken to produce 3-D images. Tomographic view is completed within seconds from a single sweep of the x-ray arm, creating a series of detailed images that together make up the 3D imaging of the breast.

  • Your appointment and preparation

    A referral from your doctor and an appointment is required for this examination. If you experience tenderness in the breast before your menstrual period, do not schedule the examination during this time. The best time is one week following your menstrual period, unless the examination is urgent. If you have breast implants or require wheelchair access, please advise our staff at the time of making your appointment as we may need to allocate a longer appointment time.

  • What can I expect during my Mammogram?

    When you arrive at Apex Radiology you will be asked to remove all jewellery and clothing for the waist up and change into a loose fitting examination gown. Initially two (or sometimes more) images will be taken of each breast. While the mammogram is being taken, each breast will be gently compressed between two flat plates on the x-ray machine.

    For the tomographic view, the x-ray arm will move in an arc above the breast for a short time. Some women may experience discomfort with compression; however, if you experience pain during the mammogram you should inform the radiographer. You can also ask for the procedure to stop at any time.

    We recommend that you advise the radiographer if you have sensitive breasts, they will work with you to make sure that the mammogram is as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, compression of the breast is essential to ensure an accurate image and minimise the amount of radiation used.

    After the routine views of your breast have been obtained the radiographer will ask you to wait while they are examined by a radiologist to ensure that all the images needed have been obtained. A breast ultrasound is often requested as a complementary test at the time of the mammogram or at a later date as a means of gathering more information for a complete examination.

  • What are the risks and side effects?

    Your doctor has sent you for a mammogram knowing that the information provided by the scan is more beneficial than the very low radiation risk associated with it. The radiation dose using tomosynthesis is only slightly higher than standard mammography and is well within the Australian National Guidelines for radiation safety levels. The skill of the operator and the design of the machine ensure you receive the lowest radiation dose possible. Female patients who are pregnant or think they may be pregnant must advise staff prior to the examination, as a mammogram is not usually performed during pregnancy unless it is a medical necessity.

  • Who will perform my Mammogram and write the report?

    Your mammogram will be carried out by a radiographer with specific training in mammography, they have a degree in medical imaging and are accredited by the Australian Institute of Radiography (AIR). Your images will be examined by a Apex Radiology radiologist (a medical doctor specialising in the interpretation of medical images), accredited by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, who will prepare and send a report to your referring doctor or medical specialist detailing the findings of your examination.

  • What should I expect after my Mammogram?

    You can resume normal activity immediately after your examination. As a result of compression required during the examination, you may experience mild tenderness afterward this should subside within 24hrs.

  • How do I obtain my results?

    If your mammography results are considered to be medically urgent, or you have an appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider straight after your examination, Apex Radiology will arrange to have your results available immediately. Otherwise your referring doctor or health care provider will receive your report within 48 hours of your examination. Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

    Apex Radiology offers 3D Mammography at:

  • Screening vs diagnostic mammograms?

    Did you know there is a difference between screening and diagnostic mammograms?

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