Film mammography has been used for more than 35 years. The breast image is placed on x-ray film. This test is very reliable. The films are processed and read by the radiologist (doctor who reads x-rays). While film mammography is very good, women who have thick breast tissue may need digital mammography testing.
Digital mammography takes an electronic picture of the breast and stores it in a computer. This test does not use film. The pictures are sent to the radiologist electronically. The radiologist can magnify areas of the breast that need to be looked at further. The actual exam is done in the same way the film mammogram is done. Digital mammography is better for screening women who are premenopausal, under age 55, or who have thick breast tissue.