What is a 3D mammography?

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Kathleen V. Greatrex, MD
Diagnostic Radiology
A 3D mammogram will not be too different from what you’d expect during a regular mammogram. It uses a little bit more of a radiation dose than a traditional mammogram, but not much more. That helps it to give a more sensitive and specific image of the breast tissue. It's a great new tool. 

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
Jennifer Rollenhagen, MD
Diagnostic Radiology
A 3D mammogram helps radiologists see cancers that would usually "hide" in a standard 2D mammogram. Watch as radiologist Jennifer Rollenhagen, MD, of Mercy Health, explains how 3D mammograms work to improve accuracy in screenings.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
Stacy Contreras
Body Imaging
3D mammography allows a radiologist to see through different tissue structures in the breast. Watch as Stacy Contreras, director at Good Samaritan Hospital’s Breast Care Center, describes 3D mammography and how it helps  screen for breast cancer.  
Mammography isn’t infallible, Lawrence Bassett, M.D., section chief of the Iris Cantor Center for Breast Imaging, notes. In particular, dense breast tissue can mask a tumor. Digital breast tomosynthesis, also called 3D mammography, was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an add-on to the conventional two-dimensional mammogram.

Studies have shown that 3D mammography can reduce false positives (findings that are suspicious enough to require further testing but turn out to be benign) while improving the ability to detect cancers that would otherwise be hidden by overlapping tissue. “There is no perfect screening method,” Dr. Bassett concludes, “but mammography is the best tool that we have, and it has been proved to reduce breast cancer mortality.”

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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.