Mammography Prep: What to Expect

A mammogram uses X-ray imaging to take a picture of breast tissue. Mammograms can detect lumps or calcifications in the early stages when they’re the easiest to treat. This is part of why receiving an annual mammogram is so important.

Mammograms are typically used as a screening tool. They are also important if you notice a change in one or both of your breasts.

Who Should Get a Mammogram?

The American Cancer Society recommends these mammogram guidelines:

  • Women 40 to 44 have the option for an annual mammogram.
  • Women 45 to 54 should get a mammogram every year.
  • Women ages 55 and older can either continue with annual mammograms or have a mammogram every two years.
  • Mammograms should continue as long as the woman’s life expectancy is 10 years or longer.
  • Those at high risk due to genetics or family history should speak to their doctor about receiving mammograms before age 40 or at more frequent intervals.

Mammography Prep Made Easy

A few easy steps make getting an annual mammogram easier. Radiology experts at River’s Edge are available 24/7 to follow up on questions before and after your mammogram procedure.

  • Prior to your appointment, speak with the referring physician or radiology technologist performing the exam to address any questions in detail.
  • Don’t schedule your mammogram for while you’re on your period or the week following your period. Your breasts are more tender at this time, which can make mammograms uncomfortable.
  • To compare screening results, provide River’s Edge Imaging Services with any previous imaging records.
  • Eating or drinking before a mammogram is fine.
  • Don’t wear deodorant, antiperspirants or perfumes to the appointment. These cosmetics may show up on the X-ray images. If necessary, bring cosmetics with you for use after your appointment.
  • Wearing a two-piece outfit may make it easier to disrobe for the procedure.
  • Over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help relieve any minor discomfort experienced during the procedure.
  • Speak up! While mammograms may be briefly uncomfortable, there should be no serious pain. Let your technologist know if you experience any discomfort.

Technologists at River’s Edge Imaging Services, a Softer Mammography Provider, use mammo pads—foam pads that act as cushions between the breasts and the mammography machine—to increase comfort during mammograms.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

Not sure what will take place at your screening? Having the info helps take the unexpected out of mammography prep:

  • A mammogram is complete in approximately 15 minutes.
  • You’ll be expected to undress from the waist up. A gown will be provided for you to cover up with.
  • X-ray imaging takes two images of each breast: top to bottom and side to side.
  • Each breast is pressed between two plates while the image is taken.
  • A standard mammogram is 2D. 3D mammograms provide enhanced imaging details. River’s Edge Imaging Services provides both 2D and 3D mammograms.

Schedule a mammogram with River’s Edge Imaging Services online or call (507) 934-7632.

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