Why Is 3D Mammography Service Better Than a Traditional Mammogram?

Mammograms are low-dose X-rays used to screen women for breast cancer or look for changes in the breast tissue. There are two main kinds of mammography service: 2D and 3D mammograms.

2D Mammograms

2D mammogram machines work by compressing the breast between plates to spread the breast tissue apart. The machines then take two X-ray images of each breast: one from the top and one from the side. The flattening pressure from the plates often causes discomfort or mild pain, and only one breast can be imaged at a time.

During both 2D and 3D mammograms, the radiologist is looking for changes in breast tissue, including:

  • Asymmetries, or differences in breast size or shape
  • Calcifications, or calcium deposits
  • Distortions, or changes in the breast structure
  • Masses, or lumps in the breast

Up until recently, 2D mammograms were considered the gold standard for breast cancer screenings. However, with 2D mammograms, women often receive false positive results and must come back in for a biopsy screening, especially women with dense breast tissue. This is because 2D mammograms can only capture four X-ray images of the breast, which makes it difficult for radiologists to get a good look at the breast tissue and distinguish between actual areas of concern and normal tissue.

3D Mammography Service

3D mammograms can take a much more comprehensive image of the breasts, which reduces false positive results by around 40%. During a 3D mammogram, you will have your breasts compressed like in a 2D mammogram machine, and there isn’t any more discomfort or mild pain than you would experience from a 2D mammogram.

Instead of two images of each breast, the 3D mammogram moves in a small arc around the breast, taking several images. These images are then compiled together, and radiologists can look through the breast tissue one layer at a time. This helps radiologists find smaller masses and distinguish between changes in the breast, especially in women with dense breast tissue.

Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), women between ages 40 and 44 at average risk for breast cancer should have the option to begin receiving mammograms. Beginning at age 45, you should have an annual mammogram. At age 55, the ACS says you have the option to have a mammogram every other year, or you can continue with annual mammograms.

Your primary care provider can help you learn if you are at a high risk for breast cancer. Together, you can decide when it’s time for you to begin breast cancer screenings.

 Ready for a mammogram? Schedule one today.


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