What Details Should I Tell the Scheduler and Mammography Technologist?
Please tell the scheduler and technologist if you have any particular breast concerns. These concerns may include:
- New lumps
- Asymmetric thickening
- Focal pain
- New nipple inversion or discharge
- Skin redness or warmth
- Swelling or change in size
- Lymph node enlargement or pain
Please tell the scheduler and technologist if you have had a personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer, or a genetic mutation. Supplemental imaging such as breast MRI may be indicated at a later date.
If you have breast implants or breast complaints, we will need extra time to perform and interpret the imaging examination.
What to Expect With a Diagnostic Mammogram
- Please do not apply deodorant on the day of your mammogram. Applying deodorant can interfere with the ability of the mammogram to distinguish aluminum artifacts (found in most deodorants) from microcalcifications, which may be the earliest sign of breast cancer.
- Wear a two-piece outfit if possible, as you will be changing into a waffle robe so the mammography technologist has the best access to perform the imaging exam.
- Please tell us the location of your prior examinations so we can request these ahead of your visit. Many radiology departments use PowerShare like us to quickly send the digital images to us. Note that some facilities will not release the outside images to us ahead of time until you have signed a release form when you first establish care at any of our Women’s Imaging Center locations. Our digital film librarian will gladly facilitate this process for you; call 303-321-2273 x 237.
The technologist will walk you through the positions needed to obtain the best radiology images. They will ensure you are comfortable during the imaging exam at every step. Unlike a regular Mammogram where there is just one type of paddle, with a 3D Diagnostic Mammogram, there are multiple paddles. The same mammogram machine is used for performing screening and diagnostic exams. The difference is the use of specialized compression paddles, magnification or different angles used for “diagnostic mammogram imaging” exams to bring out characteristics of benign versus malignant tumors.
To obtain magnification views of calcifications, we gently place the breast onto a large stand on the mammogram machine while using a smaller spot compression paddle to press through the tissue. This process helps us better determine if a breast mass or architectural distortion is present. The amount of pressure needed for the correct exposure is based on the thickness and density of the breast. We want to keep the breast in the same position to avoid motion that may cause blurriness of the image. The mammography technologist will ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds while she obtains the exposure. Diagnostic mammography uses high-resolution, low-dose x-rays of the breast, and we may obtain one or more imaging views of a particular finding. Breast implants do not typically pose a problem. Our technologists are highly experienced in performing diagnostic mammograms, including with implants.
If we notice an area that persistently appears abnormal after diagnostic breast imaging, the radiologist may recommend a minimally invasive breast biopsy. All of our minimally-invasive breast biopsies are performed within our Centers for your comfort, convenience, and continuity of care. When a biopsy is indicated, the results will be available within two working days.
If treatment for an atypical, precancerous, or cancer result is needed, we can perform any additional pretreatment imaging, such as breast MRI or needle localization, at The Women’s Imaging Center. The care team and navigator coordinate your care among other specialists, including the radiologist, surgeon, or other specialists, based on the recommendation of your referring clinician or within the continuity of care following the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines or the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommendations.
Diagnostic Mammogram Specialists in Denver
Frequently Asked Questions About Diagnostic Mammograms
To evaluate a breast concern such as breast lump, discharge, pain, or to further characterize an abnormal area seen on a screening mammogram.
A diagnostic mammogram is performed using low dose x-ray to evaluate a breast concern such as breast lump, discharge, pain, or to further characterize an abnormal area seen on a screening mammogram. The same mammogram machine is used for performing screening and diagnostic exams. The difference is the use of specialized compression paddles, magnification or different angles used for diagnostic exams to bring out characteristics of benign versus malignant tumors.