Diagnostic Breast Imaging
3D Mammography Q&A
How does the exam work?
A Genius™ 3D exam provides our radiologists with a series of detailed images of the breast. This allows them to better evaluate breast tissue layer by layer, making fine details more visible and no longer hidden by overlapping tissue.
What should I expect during the exam?
Because there’s no additional compression required, the process of a 3D mammography exam is the same as your conventional 2D exam. The technologist will position you, compress your breast, and take images from different angles.
Is 3D mammography covered by insurance?
YES. As of January 1st, 2019, 3D mammography screening exams are covered by Medicare and private insurers in the state of Connecticut and are not subject to copays.
What Are The Types of Follow-Up Tests?
Mammography can be used when there are abnormal findings on your screening mammogram or clinical breast exam. This type of follow-up test is called a diagnostic mammogram and it includes more images of the breast. Besides this, the procedure is similar to a screening mammogram.
A breast ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the breast. The exam helps diagnose breast lumps. With this test, a radiologist can tell the difference between a liquid-filled cyst and a solid mass. This procedure is safe and non-invasive.
Radio waves and magnetic fields help create detailed images of the breast. Although a breast MRI is considered more invasive than mammography as a contrast agent must be given through an IV before the procedure, it is known to provide more information after an abnormal mammogram.
This procedure takes cells/tissue samples from the area with abnormal findings. Later, the sample is studied under a microscope to help detect cancer. This procedure is the most invasive, but don’t worry – doctors only resort to this procedure when other less-invasive tests yield inconclusive results.
What Are The Types of Findings?
Benign Breast Conditions
A benign breast condition is a mass that is not cancerous such as a lump, cyst, or nipple discharge. Benign breast conditions are common in women and mimic the warning signs of breast cancer – this is why a follow-up test is needed, often times a biopsy, to diagnose. Some conditions can lead to discomfort and pain, while others are completely harmless.
Calcifications and Microcalcifications
Calcifications are small bright white spots of calcium that can appear on mammograms. Similarly, microcalcifications are just as common but are much smaller spots. These spots appear on about half of all mammograms of women ages 50 and older (and on about 1 in 10 mammograms of younger women).
Most calcifications are benign, but not all. Some calcification patterns require further testing and can be a sign of breast cancer.
Calcifications can also be a result of past breast surgery, a breast infection, or it can be related to older age.
Non-invasive Breast Cancer
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is when abnormal cells grow in the milk ducts. The milk ducts are tubes that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple openings during breastfeeding. This type of cancer is considered non-invasive because the abnormal cells have not spread to other parts of the breast or body.
Invasive Breast Cancer
Invasive breast cancer is when abnormal cells inside the milk ducts or lobules spread out into nearby breast tissue. When the abnormal cells spread down to other parts of the body it is called metastatic cancer, also known as stage IV or advanced breast cancer.
Abnormal cells that have spread to other parts of the breast or body often appear as a white patch or mass on a mammogram.
If your follow-up test finds abnormal cells that have spread down to the lymph nodes (in the underarm area), your radiologist will recommend more tests to check for metastatic cancer.