Health Library

3D Mammography Preparation

If you have been recommended for a 3D mammogram in the near future, this article is especially helpful. A mammogram is usually taken as a stressful process by the patients; however, there is nothing to stress or worry about, since a 3D mammogram is not only a more effective and least stressful procedure but also doesn’t necessitate additional follow-up imaging. When possible, choose a facility specializing in mammography that does a considerable number of mammograms a day. This article presents some of the tips regarding how you should prepare for a 3D mammogram.

Preparation Before a 3D Mammogram

  1. If you have any previous mammograms, biopsies and other breast-related treatments you have undergone before, bring a complete report with you to your appointment.
  2. If you had a 3D mammogram at another facility, bring all records to the new facility so the old images can be compared with the new ones.
  3. Aim to schedule your 3D mammogram when your breasts are in normal condition; not swollen or tender. This helps minimize any discomfort and capture a good picture.
  4. Avoid scheduling an appointment a week before your period begins.
  5. On the day of the appointment, avoid using antiperspirant or deodorant as these usually contain substances that may appear on the x-ray as white spots.
  6. Try to wear a casual and comfy outfit like a loose skirt or pants, so that you’ll just need to remove your bra and top for the mammogram.
  7. Discuss the recent changes or issues, if any, in your breasts with the health care provider before the start of your mammogram.
  8. There is no need to fast before a 3D mammogram.

What to communicate with your technologist?

The following preparation tips will help you have an effective mammogram session:

  1. Always communicate any breast changes or issues you’re having, with your technologist doing a 3D mammogram. Also explain any medical history that may impact your breast cancer risk—like surgery, breast cancer history in the family, hormone use, or if you have had breast cancer before.
  2. Before getting any kind of imaging test, tell your technologist if you are breastfeeding or if you might be pregnant.

What to expect when getting a screening mammogram

You’ll have to undress above the waist to get a mammogram. The facility will give you a wrap to wear.

A technologist will position your breasts for the mammogram. You and the technologist are the only ones in the room during the mammogram.

To get a high-quality picture, your breast must be flattened. The technologist places your breast on the machine’s plate. The plastic upper plate is lowered to compress your breast for a few seconds while the technologist takes a picture. You will then need to change the position before the next picture is taken.

The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. The actual breast compression only lasts a few seconds each time.

You might feel some discomfort when your breasts are compressed, and for some women, it can be painful. Tell the technologist if it hurts.

Two views of each breast are taken for a screening mammogram. But for some women, such as those with breast implants or large breasts, more pictures may be needed.

Expectations from a Diagnostic Mammogram?

  • A diagnostic mammogram is usually performed if the patient has breast cancer symptoms or if a change is observed on a screening mammogram.
  • More pictures are captured during a diagnostic mammogram focusing on the area of potential concern on a screening mammogram.
  • During a diagnostic mammogram, the images are reviewed by the radiologist so that while the patient is still at the clinic, more pictures can be captured to look more closely if necessary.
  • In certain cases, special images called the spot views or magnification views are used to make a little area of concern easier to observe.

Final Thoughts

The 3D mammogram has proven to be a highly effective procedure to diagnose breast cancers at the earliest stages. It is a short process with minimal discomfort and is suitable for women of all ages. Akumin offers screening mammograms to women beginning at age 40 and continuing annually.

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