3-D Digital Mammography / Digital Breast Tomosynthesis at Hunterdon Radiology

Hunterdon Radiology is excited to announce the arrival of 3-D digital mammography at the Brems Imaging Center in our Annandale/Clinton office. This recently FDA-approved technique is sometimes referred to as Digital Breast Tomosynthesis. This cutting edge technology is the latest innovative breakthrough in the detection of breast cancer. Digital mammography is one of the most important weapons in detecting breast cancer in women and men. Studies have shown that 3-D Mammography can detect breast cancer at an earlier stage, with clearer images of dense breast tissue and greater accuracy in pin-pointing shape, size and location of any abnormalities. With fewer call backs and fewer false positives, the patient’s experience is much less stressful.

What is 3-D Digital Mammography?

3-D mammography uses low dose x-rays to create a three dimensional view of the breast. This new revolutionary state of the art technique gives radiologists the ability to view inside the breast layer by layer. This aids the radiologists in seeing fine details within the breast by minimizing overlapping tissues that could hide or mask abnormalities within the breast. This new technology does not replace the traditional 2-D mammogram; it is used in conjunction with in the same setting. By using low dose x-rays, the breast Tomosynthesis scanner rotates partially around the breast and takes images of the entire breast from different angles (typically 10-15 images). These images are known as slices. Once all the images have been taken, a state-of-the-art computer system assembles the slices into a 3-D model of the breast. The radiologist can then view the breast, slice by slice. This technology is similar to a CT Scan. The amount of radiation the patient receives is the same amount as the 2-D digital mammogram, which is below the government safety standards and meets the criteria of the American College of Radiology (ACR). Hunterdon Radiological Associates, P.A. makes the pledge to all of our patients to Image Wisely™.

What to expect during the exam

The 3-D Digital Mammogram will be performed in conjunction with your Digital Mammogram. Chances are you will not even notice anything different from your 2-D digital mammography. The x-ray tube moves in a circular sweep around the breast. Although, no additional compression is needed, the exam will take approximately 4 seconds longer per view while in compression. During your exam, each breast will be compressed between plastic paddles in the mammography machine to optimize the quality of the mammogram. Breast compression is necessary in order to even out the breast thickness so all of the tissue can be visualized. Compression is also necessary to spread out the tissue so small abnormalities won't be obscured by overlying breast tissue. The thinner the breast is compressed, the lower the radiation dose and the easier it is to hold the breast still in order to eliminate blurring of the image caused by motion. You will feel pressure as the breast is compressed. The technologist will work with you to obtain the best possible films. She will step behind a glass shield while taking the images, and will apply compression in gradations. Be sure to inform the technologist if you experience any pain.

Due to the advances in mammography technology, optimum breast imaging can be done during any part of a woman's menstrual cycle. However, adequate compression remains a very important part of a clear visible study. Therefore, it is advisable to schedule your mammogram at a time during your menstrual cycle when your breasts are least tender. By doing that we can be sure to get the compression we need and not cause unnecessary discomfort.

Candidate Criteria and Costs

Your physician and our radiologists may recommend selected patients to be the leading recipients for this new technology, These may include those with dense breast tissue, patients with previous suspicious mammograms and patients with a family history or elevated lifetime risk of breast cancer. At this time, as with any new technology, this study is not reimbursable by all insurance companies. All patients are directed to check with their individual insurance companies. If the exam is not covered by an individual’s insurance a patient will be responsible for any charges not covered at time of service and also the patient will be required to sign additional forms.

Reporting your results

After your exam is completed, a board-certified radiologist will interpret your images, and a written report will be forwarded to the physician who ordered the examination. You will also receive a mammography letter with the results and recommendations for follow-up examinations.

About Hunterdon Radiology

Hunterdon Radiology strives to be at the forefront of advances in medical technology, using state-of-the-art testing equipment to provide faster and more efficient services to doctors and patients. We have three convenient New Jersey locations that offer flexible appointment times, including evening and weekend availability. Our board certified technologists and radiologists provide friendly, compassionate service to patients and quick test results to physicians.

Call us today to learn more about 3D Digital Mammography or to schedule an appointment!