General Information About Mammography
Mammography is the best method available for the early detection of breast cancer. A screening mammogram involves two X-rays of each breast. The breasts are compressed during each examination to improve the clarity of the X-ray image. St. Paul Radiology offers both screening and diagnostic mammography as well as ultrasound and needle-guided biopsy/aspiration to evaluate the breast.
The physicians and staff of St. Paul Radiology are pleased to provide you with answers to questions you may have about your upcoming exam. This information will help ensure a positive experience when you are a patient for mammography.
At St. Paul Radiology certified mammography technologists will perform your exam. St. Paul Radiology imaging centers are American College of Radiology accredited.
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A screening mammography uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts and plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them.
Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings ─ such as a palpable breast lump or lumps ─ that have been found by the patient or doctor. Diagnostic mammography may also be done after an abnormal screening mammography for further evaluation.
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Questions About Mammography
Question: What is a mammogram?
Answer: A mammogram is an examination of the soft tissue of the breast. Mammography is the recommended modality for early detection of breast cancer. St. Paul Radiology offers both screening and diagnostic mammography as well as ultrasound and needle guided biopsy/aspiration to evaluate the breast. A screening mammogram involves two X-rays of each breast.
Question: Is there any preparation on my part prior to my appointment?
Answer: If your previous mammogram was not done at St. Paul Radiology, you will be asked to contact your former provider and request that your film be sent to St. Paul Radiology for a comparison study.
Question: What should I wear to my examination?
Answer: You may prefer to wear a two-piece outfit to your mammogram appointment, as we will ask you to disrobe from the waist up. A gown will be provided for your convenience. If you are wearing deodorant, you will be asked to remove it.
Question: What should I bring to my appointment?
Answer: Please bring your insurance card. Your insurance company will be billed for the procedure. You will receive a bill for any co-pay or non-covered expenses from St. Paul Radiology Outpatient Imaging.
Question: How long will my examination last?
Answer: The exam lasts approximately 15 minutes.
Question: How does the procedure work?
Answer: The technologist will place your breast between two plates on the imaging machine and compression will be applied for a few seconds while each image is taken. You will be asked to hold your breath and not move during each exposure.
Question: Is a mammogram painful?
Answer: You will feel the compression when it is applied for each image. Unless your breasts are already tender, the exam should not be painful. Some patients do experience brief discomfort.
Question: What is Computer Aided Detection (CAD)?
Answer: St. Paul Radiology is equipped with state-of-the-art Computer Aided Detection (CAD). This new technology aids the radiologist in identifying very subtle changes in the breast. CAD, as the name implies, uses a computer to assist in analyzing your mammogram. The computer utilizes breakthrough technology to highlight any potential areas of concern on a mammogram, calling attention to subtle changes in the breast tissue that may indicate the presence of cancer. The computer does not replace the radiologist who reads the mammograms. The radiologist determines if marked areas need further evaluation. With CAD, the radiologist still makes the final interpretation of your mammograms and you receive the benefit of a second opinion.
Question: How will I receive my mammogram results?
Answer: A Board Certified Radiologist (a physician who specializes in interpreting diagnostic images) will study the images from your examination and send a report to your physician. You will receive a letter from St. Paul Radiology with your results within 30 days of your examination.