3D Mammography

3D Mammography for Birmingham Women

Did you know that a mammogram can show breast lumps sometimes up to three years before you or your health care provider can feel them? We recommend that all women over 40 get an annual mammogram. Although mammography has been very successful in reducing breast cancer deaths, it can occasionally fail to detect new cancer. More frequently, a suspicious mammogram result may lead to additional exams or procedures where no cancer exists. Now new technology known as 3D mammography improves on these limitations of traditional digital mammography. At Sparks & Favor we offer our patients advanced 3D mammography!

What is 3D Mammography?

The 3D mammography unit takes multiple x-rays of the breast from different angles. These multiple images–similar to slices through the breast–are combined into a 3D view. The procedure, also known as breast tomosynthesis, provides a more informative picture of the breast tissue than a traditional 2D mammogram. Traditional mammography takes only one image for each view of the breast.

What are its advantages?

From the American College of Radiology statement: 3D mammography offers “higher cancer detection rates and fewer patient recalls for additional testing.” The radiologists’ professional organization goes on to say that these improvements “will likely translate into more lives saved” and “fewer patients who may experience short-term anxiety awaiting test results.” 3D mammograms are especially recommended for women with dense breast tissue. Multiple images allow the radiologist to examine the breast in thin layers, one at a time. Fine details are more
visible, and a lump is less likely to be hidden by the tissue above or below.

One advantage that our patients are likely to notice is the new “Smart-Curve” compression surface! It offers a more comfortable experience without compromising the quality of the exam.

Are there any disadvantages?

A complete mammography exam using older 3D technology required separate 2D and 3D views of each breast. Patients received a larger dose of radiation than a 2D exam alone–although still well-within safety guidelines. Another disadvantage–the older combination exam kept the breast between the compression paddles for a longer time, while it captured 2D and then the 3D images (about 12 sec.*). The latest version of 3D mammography–now available at Sparks & Favor–produces the 2D and 3D views simultaneously. It. delivers a radiation dose comparable to a simple 2D mammogram and requires less than 4 seconds* per view!

Who should choose a 3D mammogram?

The physicians at Sparks & Favor recommend that any woman needing breast screening should consider a 3D mammogram. You will notice little difference from your previous mammogram, except hopefully less discomfort, thanks to the “Smart-Curve” system. But you will enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you have had the most up-to-date screening exam available.

*scan time only