3D Breast Tomosynthesis
A breast tomosynthesis 3D exam is very similar to a traditional 2D mammogram, requiring similar compression and identical positioning of the breast. The only difference is that the tomosynthesis camera rotates over the breast in an arc-like fashion to provide both the 2D standard of care images as well as 3D breast imaging information. During the breast tomosynthesis exam, a series of images are taken providing an in-depth look at the breast tissue allowing for more detailed evaluation.
The 3D images are utilized, in addition to the 2D images taken at the same time, allowing radiologists to search for valuable additional information. The radiation dose of a combined 2D/3D exam is roughly twice that of a standard digital mammogram, but remains a very low dose and is well below the regulated safety levels for mammography.
Breast tomosynthesis allows doctors to examine breast tissue one layer at a time. This exciting new technology has been recently FDA approved and is now available. Breast tomosynthesis is a new technology in the fight against breast cancer. Breast tomosynthesis may be used in conjunction with traditional digital mammography as part of your annual screening mammogram to capture more breast images. Very low X-ray energy is used during the screening examination so your radiation exposure is safely below the American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines. Using breast tomosynthesis and digital mammography together for screening has been proven to reduce “call-backs”. Breast tomosynthesis may also be used for a diagnostic mammogram if you happen to be called back for this type of exam.
What is Breast Tomosynthesis?
Breast tomosynthesis, otherwise known as 3D mammography, is the latest advance in breast cancer detection. 3D mammography allows radiologists to see through dense breast tissue or overlapping tissue in the breast, sometimes a limiting factor on regular 2D mammograms. Early clinical trials of this promising new FDA-Approved technology suggest increased breast cancer detection rates and a reduction in the number of false positive results.
3D Mammography is a technology that utilizes high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin image layers or “slices” – building what is essentially a “3-dimensional mammogram.” With this 3D mammography technology, radiologists can now view breast tissue detail in a way never before possible – examining breast tissue one layer at a time, allowing fine details to be more clearly visible and no longer hidden by the tissue above or below.
Several scientific studies thus far have shown real potential for 3D mammography to both increase breast cancer detection as well as reduce “call-backs” (the number of times that a woman may have to come back for additional images). Fewer call-backs reduce a woman’s exposure to radiation and the personal stress often associated with additional imaging.
What to Expect During Your Exam
A tomosynthesis exam is very similar to a traditional mammogram. Just as with a digital mammogram, the technologist will position you, compress your breast under a paddle and take images from different angles. A breast tomosynthesis exam may be used as a screening tool in conjunction with a traditional digital mammogram or may be used by itself for a diagnostic mammogram.
During the tomosynthesis portion of the exam, your breast will be under compression while the x-ray arm of the mammography machine makes a quick arc over the breast, taking a series of breast images at a number of angles. This will only take a few seconds and all of the images are viewed by the technologist at their computer workstation to ensure they have captured adequate images for review by a radiologist. The whole procedure time should be approximately the same as that of a digital mammogram. The technologist sends your breast images electronically to the radiologist, who studies them and reports results to either your physician or directly to you.
Dr. Pusey accepts these health insurances and many other major insurances for the convenience of our patients.
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