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What should I expect during a digital mammogram?

Here's what to expect during a digital mammogram:
  1. The technologist will come to the gowned waiting area to get you for your exam. Once inside the mammography room, the technologist will document and verify your breast history for the interpreting radiologist. She will check your breasts for any scars or moles and will identify these for the radiologist with a small sticky marker.
  2. The screening exam consists of 4 views (2 views of each breast), one from top to bottom and one from side to side. The technologist will remove the gown from one breast and place the breast on the horizontal platform of the mammography equipment. She will lower the compression paddle onto the breast. Compression is needed to smooth out the small structures within the breast and to reduce the amount of radiation needed to image the breast. The compression will remain on the breast until the digital image is captured, approximately 10 seconds. The compression automatically releases as soon as the image has been captured. The technologist will rotate the equipment for the next view and apply the compression as before. These 2 views will then be repeated on the other breast. The total exam takes less than 15 minutes.
  3. The technologist is not able to interpret your images. The interpreting physicians are board certified by the American College of Radiology and specialize in breast imaging, ensuring that the highest standards of care and mammography are provided. Radiologists also use computer-aided detection (CAD) technology, which increases the likelihood of detecting the small or early-stage cancers. You will receive your results within 7 to 10 days of your exam.
  4. If there is a need for additional imaging after the interpretation is completed, you will receive a phone call from the breast center staff to assist you in getting a return appointment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.