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3D mammography, sometimes referred to as tomosynthesis, takes only a few moments longer than a standard mammogram. In both instances, the breast is compressed between plates to obtain images. However, during a 3D mammogram, the scan takes a series of X-rays from different angles. The computer then digitally recreates the breast, and radiologists can view a series of “slices” of the image, making it easier to see and evaluate possible abnormalities.
The ratio of glandular/connective tissue to fatty tissue varies widely among women. Breast density only describes how breasts look on a mammogram. It isn’t a measure of how they feel. Clinically speaking, breast density is gauged on a scale of one to four, from almost entirely glandular/connective tissue to almost entirely fatty tissue, or degrees in between. Eighty percent of women are not on either end of the spectrum but somewhere in the middle. However, younger women and women with smaller breasts are more likely to have dense breasts. For many, breasts become less dense after menopause.
On the results letter you receive following a mammogram, it should tell you if you have dense breasts. If you find that you do, you should talk to your doctor about alternative testing. That may be 3D mammography. It may also be an ultrasound or an MRI, depending on your family history and just how dense your breasts are.
If you think you’d benefit from a 3D mammogram, talk to your doctor for a referral to one of Mercy Imaging Centers locations throughout Greater Sacramento.
Or contact us at one of our imaging locations offering 3D mammography:
2081 Bronze Star Drive
Woodland, CA 95776
(In the Costco Shopping Center)
1380 Lead Hill Blvd., Building B, Suite 100
Roseville, CA 95661