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Digital 3D Mammography


One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. Mammograms are an important step for women to be diagnosed early and get a head start on breast cancer treatment. Schedule your annual mammogram at Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta today. True Breast Tomosynthesis is 3D mammogram technology that is proven to detect breast cancer better than traditional 2D mammography alone. While standard 2D mammograms take an image of the top and bottom side of a patient’s breast, True Breast Tomosynthesis takes approximately 25 images of the breast from many angles as the X-ray tube moves across the breast in an arc. Safer use and safer exams are now possible with a height-adjustable table that makes it easier for staff to transfer and work with patients. The special MAX Assistance feature provides fast and easy access to the safest transfer positions. Sharper imaging is achieved with the system’s dynamic flat detector that delivers 116 percent more anatomical coverage than image intensifier systems. The distortion-free, high-quality dynamic sequences make for greater diagnostic confidence.

Procedure Description

  • Digital Mammography Screening
  • Diagnostic Digital Mammography

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a 3D Mammography Breast Exam?

3D mammography is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection.  It is performed in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram. During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in an arc over the breast, taking multiple images. Then, a computer uses the images to produce a 3D image of your breast tissue, providing greater detail for the radiologist.


What are the Benefits of 3D Mammography?

More accurate detection:
By minimizing the impact of overlapping breast tissue. 

Earlier diagnosis:
Overlapping tissue can hide small cancers in a 2D scan. Sometimes this tissue appears overlapped, making it difficult to see all the individual structures. 3D mammography allows the doctor to better see the different structures as well as the location, size and shape of any abnormal tissue, such as small cancers.
Better detection in dense breast tissue: Dense breast tissue, often found in younger women. 

Less Anxiety: 3D mammography can help reduce false alarms. The improved accuracy in diagnosing abnormal structures offered by a 3D view of the breast decreases the number of unnecessary callbacks to women for additional scans and biopsies.


Are There Any Risks With 3D Mammography?

Very low X-ray energy is used during the exam. This means that the amount of radiation is below the recommended guidelines of the American College of Radiology and is just slightly higher than digital 2D mammography. Breast Tomosynthesis is approved for use by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Who Needs a Mammogram?

Women age 40 and older should have an annual mammogram, according to the American Cancer Society. Women with breast pain should seek a doctor’s evaluation. Women who have dense breasts may need extra evaluation as dense (gland) tissue makes it harder to read a mammogram. 

Women who feel a lump or abnormal growth should first schedule an evaluation with their doctor.


Patient Guide: 

  • Because breasts can become especially tender during menstruation, women should schedule mammography for a date seven to ten days following the end of their menstrual cycle.

  • Caffeinated foods and beverages can exacerbate breast pain, so women experiencing frequent breast pain should avoid them for five to seven days prior to mammography.

  • Wearing comfortable, easy-to-remove clothing is recommended, as mammography requires a bare torso.

  • Applying deodorant, perfume, lotion or other products to the underarm or torso is discouraged because they can interfere with the imaging process. If you’re not going home afterward, you might want to take your deodorant with you to put on after your exam. 

  • Pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, women with breast implants and women with other medical conditions should be sure to inform their physician.

  • Discuss any recent changes or problems in your breasts with your health care provider before getting the mammogram.

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 compressed. 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. 

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

  • 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.

To Schedule Your Annual Mammogram or Other Breast Examination

Call our schedulers at 530.926.9380, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.