3D Mammography

3D Mammography

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance patients visiting the Mobile Mammography Van can now have their breast cancer screenings in three dimensions with digital breast tomosynthesis, more commonly known as three-dimensional (3D) mammography.

What is 3D Mammography?

3D mammography is a new technology that allows doctors to examine breast tissue one layer at a time. 3D mammography uses high-powered computing to covert digital images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices.” A good analogy for the digital images created by 3D mammography is the pages of a book. If you look down at the cover you cannot see all the pages, but when you open it up, you can go through the entire book page-by-page and see everything in between.

What is different about a 3D mammogram?

Getting a 3D mammogram is much like getting a conventional mammogram. Just as with a conventional mammogram, the technologist will position your breast and compress it under a paddle. Instead of taking a single image from one position, the X-ray arm  during a 3D mammogram sweeps over the breast and takes multiple images. A computer then produces a 3D image of the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, allowing the radiologist to see the breast in much greater detail.

What are the benefits of 3D mammograms?

With conventional two-dimensional mammograms, the radiologist views all the complexities of the breast tissue in one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion that it is normal. A 3D mammogram, on the other hand, looks at breast tissue in one millimeter slices, allowing the radiologist to provide a more confident assessment and reduce the likelihood for follow-up imaging.

Is there more radiation dose with a 3D mammogram?

No, 3D mammograms use about the same amount of radiation as a conventional mammogram done on film.

To schedule your digital 3D mammogram on the SCCA Mammography Van, please call (206) 288-7800.