ACR recommends annual mammography beginning at age 40.
STRIC offers DBT (Digital Breast Tomosynthesis) commonly referred to as 3D for both screening and diagnostic exams.
Two piece outfit and comfortable shoes are preferred. You will undress from the waist up and change into a gown. Do not wear perfume, powders or deodorant as it can cause artifacts on the images.
A screening mammogram consists of four (4) views, two views of each breast.
The technologist will reposition you for each view and apply compression to flatten and even out the breast tissue for better visualization and imaging.
After the images are taken, the technologist will review them for positioning and clarity. If there is any movement or breast tissue missing from image, she will repeat the image.
Once the images have been reviewed by the technologist, they are sent electronically to our PACS system to be read by one of our board certified radiologists.
You will be notified by mail of your results. If your exam is normal, you will need to do nothing further and we will see you next year! We will remind you when it is time for your annual mammogram the following year. You should keep up with your self-breast exams monthly and report any changes to your physician.
If your screening shows an area that cannot be determined to be normal or stable, you will be asked to return for additional imaging. In most cases, this will be diagnostic mammography with views to magnify the area and/or give more localized compression for better detail. Ultrasound is commonly used as well to gain more information. If either or both of these are recommended, you will receive notification by mail and we will include a pre-scheduled appointment for your convenience.
Screening mammography is intended for women 40 and over that have no symptoms. Diagnostic mammography is for women who have symptoms such a pain, lump, discharge or dimpling or who have been asked to return for additional imaging as a result of their screening mammogram.
A radiologist that specializes in mammography will inform the technologist which specific views to take to best visualize the area. These views are taken on the same equipment as the screening mammogram. Compression will again be used as well as specialized views and/or magnification of the area where the radiologist needs to see more detail
Breast ultrasound is used to help the radiologist diagnose a breast lump found on a self or clinical breast exam or a nodule identified on a mammogram. This imaging will show if the finding is fluid-filled (such as a benign cyst), a solid mass (which may need further testing to ensure it is not abnormal) or a lump that is both cystic and solid. It can identify other abnormalities in the breast or axilla seen on the mammogram. It is also clinically indicated as an additional tool for patients that have dense breast tissue (tissue that has more glandular & connective tissue and not very much fatty tissue).
You will be notified by mail of your results. If your exam was normal, you will need to do nothing further. We will remind you when it is time for your annual mammogram the following year. If the radiologist does not feel that he/she can release you back to an annual screening mammogram he/she will recommend you to return for a short term follow up, generally in six months, to establish stability of the area over time. You will receive notification by mail of your recommendation and we will include a pre-scheduled appointment for your convenience. Finally, the radiologist may recommend a biopsy of the area. If the radiologist recommends a biopsy, he/she will have a consultation with you before you leave your appointment. Your images and the area of concern will discussed with you and the radiologist will answer any questions you might have. We will attempt to set up your appointment to return for the biopsy prior to your leaving.
A minimally invasive procedure that uses imaging equipment, either stereotactic or ultrasound, to locate the area to be evaluated. The radiologist uses the equipment to guide the biopsy needle to the area and takes a tissue sample to send to the laboratory.
You will first speak with the radiologist about what to expect during the procedure and to answer any questions you may have. For a stereotactic biopsy you will be positioned lying on your stomach with your breast in an opening on the table to allow the breast to be compressed during the procedure. For an ultrasound biopsy you will be positioned on your back with your arm above you head. The technologist will take images of the area before, during and after the procedure. The radiologist will administer local anesthetic via a fast-acting injection of numbing medication to the biopsy area. A very small nick in the skin is made to insert the biopsy needle and remove the tissue sample. Finally, a very small titanium marker may be placed in the area where the tissue sample was taken. This will help locate the area in the future if needed.
The technologist will then take a post mammogram image to confirm the marker placement. Then the technologist and/or radiologist will go over the post-biopsy care instructions and give you a number to call for our on-call nurse.
The tissue samples are sent to the lab. Results typically take three days to return. Your referring physician will contact you with the results. If the results are negative, you will either be asked to return for a short interval follow up (usually 6 months) to confirm stability of the area or you will be released back to your annual mammogram. If the results are positive, your doctor will instruct you on next steps. In most cases, you will be referred to a nurse navigator with the Methodist Healthcare System. Our biopsy schedulers work closely with the nurse navigator to ensure they have all information necessary to assist you.
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