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? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 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.  A newer technology known as 3D mammography offers advantages over traditional digital mammography, according to the American College of Radiology. The radiologists professional organization has worked with Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers to help women gain access to 3D technology with coverage by their health care insurance plans. At Sparks & Favor we offer our patients this technology!

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’ statement 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 may be especially helpful 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 was designed to offer a more comfortable experience without compromising the quality of the exam.

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. Regular screening mammograms are an essential tool in finding breast cancer at an early, treatable stage. A newer 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!

*scan time only