3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis)
3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis) is like your annual mammogram but far more accurate than standard 2D digital mammography. 3D mammography captures multiple images of the breast from multiple angles. The images create a layered 3D breast picture which our Radiologists are then able to review one image at a time, almost like turning a page in a book, making it easier to detect cancer.
What to Expect:
3D mammograms are performed similarly to 2D digital mammograms, with the mammogram X-ray source moving during the exam. There is no additional time required and the same amount of compression is used. Depending on breast size and tissue density, the radiation exposure is equal to or slightly greater than 2D mammography by up to 20%.
Why We Offer 3D Mammography:
RDC has demonstrated leadership, state of the art technology and a commitment to quality patient care by introducing digital mammography to northern Nevada in 2000, and now continues that leadership with being the first to offer 3D mammography and computerized density analysis.
Advantages to using 3D Mammography include:
- Better cancer detection.
- Greater image flexibility.
- Less Anxiety.
- Fewer negative biopsy recommendations.
- No lost films.
Frequently Asked Questions on 3D Mammography
What is 3D mammography (also known as tomosynthesis) and how does it compare to standard 2D digital mammography?
Conventional mammograms provide the Radiologist with a 2D image to evaluate the breast. This can be limiting due to overlapping layers of tissue. 3D mammography is FDA approved and delivers a series of detailed breast images. This allows the Radiologist to better evaluate your breasts layer by layer, eliminating the problem of overlapping breast tissue, which can obstruct the view of breast cancer.
What is the radiation exposure of 3D mammography compared to 2D?
The radiation exposure for 3D is well within federal limits and comparable to a conventional 2D mammogram or slightly increased, depending on a woman’s breast size and density.
Can I get it if I have breast implants?
3D mammography is a safe and effective exam for women with implants. 3D provides added benefit to “seeing” around implants.
Will I notice a difference when the technologist performs the exam?
No, the same views are performed for both standard 2D and 3D screening mammograms. Two views are performed on each breast. Patients with implants receive three views on each breast.
Is there more compression on a 3D mammogram?
No, the compression is the same.
Will 3D mammography help reduce the need to be called back for additional imaging? Yes, 3D mammography has been proven to reduce call back rates up to 30-40%. However, a small number of patients will still need to be called back for additional imaging.
What do your Radiologists recommend for me? 2D or 3D?
We recommend that every woman receive a 3D mammogram, especially for those with heterogeneously and extremely dense breast tissue. National studies have shown 3D mammography detects 40-50% more cancers compared to traditional 2D mammography. After our first year performing 3D mammography, RDC has experienced a 35% decrease in patients called back for additionally imaging.
How much does it cost? Do I have to pay for it?
Please refer to your check-in sheet for details on the specific coverage with your insurance carrier/plan.
If 3D imaging is better for cancer detection, why isn’t everyone offering this service?
For over 30 years, RDC has been committed to investing in the best and latest technology for our patients. For this reason, when we purchased our newer mammogram machines, we ensured they would be “3D ready” so we could upgrade when the technology was FDA approved. Although this was a large investment, RDC remains dedicated to offering our patients the very best. As 3D imaging is the future of mammography, we expect this technology to become common place in the region as hospitals replace their older equipment.
Do I have to decide if I want 3D before I schedule my appointment?
Since the time it takes to have a 3D mammo vs. a 2D mammo is the same, we take the opportunity to explain the benefits of 3D when you check in. This also allows you to discuss your questions or concerns with your technologist before your exam.
How do insurance companies decide whether or not to cover this exam?
Unfortunately, we are not always privy to this information, and some are more transparent than others. If your insurance does not cover this exam, we encourage you to contact your insurance provider for more information on their policies and recommend that you would like 3D covered.