Mammography

RIA is currently offering Lower Dose 3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis) at all of our Maryland and Virginia radiology locations.

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What is a mammography? Who needs a mammogram?
Benefits vs. risks Screening vs. diagnostic
What should I expect? When do I get my results?

 

What is a Mammography?

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray used to detect and evaluate changes in the breast often before the patient has any symptoms.

All of RIA's private women's imaging suites, offer Full-Field Digital Mammography with Computer-aided Detection (CAD) technology as our standard of care.

Who Needs a Mammogram?

Annual mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.

Women with an immediate family member with breast cancer, should consider beginning screening 10 years prior to that relative's age at the time of diagnosis.

Women under 40, who are at higher risk, should discuss with their healthcare provider if they need to start mammograms at an earlier age and/or more frequently. Other imaging studies such as MRI and Ultrasound may also be recommended.

Benefits vs. Risks

Early detection of breast cancer is the single most important factor in surviving the disease. There has been a 33% drop in cancer mortality in the U.S. Since 1990 due to early screening and improved treatments.

A small percentage of screening patients will be called back for follow up diagnostic appointment. Often times the issue can be cleared up easily through additional imaging such as ultrasound. If not, the radiologist will meet with you personally to discuss what further testing is recommended and answer any questions you may have.

Digital mammograms require very small doses of radiation. The risk from this radiation exposure is extremely low. You should however inform your technologists if there is any chance of pregnancy.

Screening vs. Diagnostic

Screening mammograms are recommended for asymptomatic patients with no significant risk factors. Many times screenings are treated as preventative exams and covered at a 100% by insurance.

Diagnostic mammograms are needed for anyone experiencing symptoms related to their breasts (e.g., lump, nipple discharge, skin dimpling or changes). Patients with significant risk factors or a diagnosis of breast cancer within the last three years should also have a diagnostic mammogram. Usually these diagnostic exams are treated differently by Insurance companies and often deductibles, co-pays and coinsurances may be applicable. Please check with your insurance provider for specific information.

What Should I Expect?

Your mammogram will be performed by a mammography-certified, female technologist, under the direct supervision of one of our board-certified radiologists. The entire appointment usually takes less than 30 minutes.

Please do not wear body powder or deodorant from the waist up as those can mimic breast calcifications. Two piece clothing may be more comfortable. After checking in you will be escorted to a private dressing room and asked to change into a gown that opens in the front.

The technologist will ask you several questions to provide our radiologists with with all relevant history and any breast related problems you may be experiencing.

If you have sensitive breasts, scheduling your mammogram during the two weeks following your menstrual cycle when breasts are typically less tender may reduce your discomfort. Caffeine can also be a contributing factor for discomfort.

When Do I Get My Results?

Within 48 hours we will send a full report to your physician. You will also be mailed a letter explaining the results of your exam.

If you have had previous mammograms or breast imaging studies anywhere besides a RIA facility please plan to bring your film or CD and a report with you so our radiologists will have them for comparison. Having these available during your appointment not only ensures a more accurate mammogram, it will decrease the time for your results to be provided.