Digital Mammography

Digital Mammography

Digital MammographyOne of the most important tools in breast health is a mammogram. This machine uses X-rays to take pictures of your breasts. If you've never had a mammogram before, it may seem daunting. You may have heard stories about the process being painful or embarrassing.

At the Susan Sheppard McGillicuddy Breast Center, you are examined in a tranquil and peaceful setting and your needs are kept in mind. Doctors recommend that women age 40 and older get a screening mammogram every year. No matter what your age, if you have high risk factors or if you feel a lump in your breast, talk to your doctor about scheduling a mammogram.

What can you expect when you get a mammogram?

First, you'll probably be told not to use perfume, lotion, powder, or deodorant on or near your breasts on the day of the test, since those substances can interfere with getting a clear picture. Then, once you arrive, you'll be asked to undress from the waist up and put on a soft robe, with the opening at the front.

Once you're in the examining room, the technician will probably take four images of your breasts: a top view and a side view of each breast. For each image, you will remove one sleeve of the robe to expose just the breast being X-rayed. The technician will position the breast on a platform and then a pane of Plexiglas will come down, or sideways, to compress the breast. You'll have to hold very still as the tech presses a button to take the picture. During this time, you may feel the sensation of being "pinched," but the process is very quick. If this is bothersome, you might try taking a deep breath or two.

If you are having a diagnostic mammogram, a radiologist will review your images right away. If you are having a screening mammogram, your results will be available in 24-48 hours. We will follow up with you as soon as possible to review your results. We make the time from detection to diagnosis as short as possible which is thanks in part to the use of digital mammography, which is faster to read. Also, digital mammogram images can be stored on a computer for easy comparison, instead of being stored as traditional film. The whole process should take about 30 minutes.

If the radiologist sees an area of concern, a few things can happen. If you were here for a screening mammogram, you may be called back and a technician will take more images of your breast and/or you may be scheduled for a breast ultrasound. After additional images are taken, your results will be available that same day. Most of the time, the images will give the team all the information needed. If there remains reason for concern, the next step will be a biopsy.

Schedule your screening mammogram today by calling (727) 820-7000.

Learn more about breast health services at BayCare.

Susan Sheppard McGillicuddy Breast Center
1201 Fifth Ave. N., Suite 105
St. Petersburg, FL 33705