3D Digital Mammography (Tomosynthesis)

Considered the most significant improvement in mammography in the past 30 years, the 3D mammogram, or breast tomosynthesis, provides more detail than a traditional mammogram.

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The 3D advantage

3D mammography is an FDA-approved type of digital mammography. The exam is performed much like a traditional mammogram, except that the machine takes a quick series of images at different angles. Computer software then reconstructs these breast tissue "slices" to create an image. This gives physicians a cleaner image of breast masses and makes it easier to spot breast cancer. The process is similar to how a computed tomography (CT) scanner produces images of structures inside of the body. The radiation dose is no different than a traditional mammogram.

Mammogram images that compare 2D versus 3D.
On the images above, what appears as an abnormality on the 2D mammogram (left) is accurately captured as normal breast tissue on the 3D mammogram (right).

Who can benefit?

All women, especially those with dense breast tissue, should consider 3D mammography for their breast screening. 3D mammograms make it possible for radiologists to detect the difference between cancerous and noncancerous breast tissue, especially in  women with dense breasts. Patients are often spared the false-positive readings and being called back for additional tests that can happen with 2D or conventional mammograms.

Three generations of women.

Dense breast tissue

If you have dense breast tissue, you may be at higher risk for breast cancer. But how do you know if you have dense breasts, and how do your screening needs change if you do?

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