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Mammography and Digital Mammography


A mammogram is an X-ray picture that shows the inside of your breast and can detect cancer that is too small for either you or your doctor to feel. Mammography is the best way to detect breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage, long before any symptoms occur. A mammogram also may be used to study your breast tissue after you or your doctor discover a suspicious lump in your breast or if your initial breast screening was abnormal in any way. A special mammography machine uses a very low dose of radiation to take pictures of each breast from both top and side views.

Digital Mammography

Norton Healthcare is proud to offer digital mammography with the FDA-approved R2 computer-aided detection (CAD) system. Digital mammography uses computers and specially designed digital detectors to produce images that can be displayed on a high-resolution computer monitor, and transmitted and stored just like computer files. The CAD system assists radiologists by digitizing and analyzing mammograms for suspicious areas that may indicate the presence of cancer. With digital mammography, the radiologist reviews electronic images of the breast, using special high-resolution monitors. The physician can adjust the brightness, change contrast and zoom in for closeups of specific areas.

What to expect during your test or treatment

  • Your technologist will take you to a special room where the pictures will be taken.
  • You will be asked to undress from the waist up and change into a gown.
  • You will stand upright next to the mammography machine, a rectangular box with special accessories that allows only your
    breast to be exposed to the X-rays, and your technologist will position one of your breasts into the machine.
  • Your breast will be placed on a special platform and compressed with a paddle made of clear Plexiglas or plastic. Compressing
    the breast is important because it evens out the breast thickness so that all of the tissue can be seen and so that small
    abnormalities are not hidden by overlying breast tissue. It also holds your breast still so the pictures won’t be blurry.
  • You will feel pressure on the breast as it is squeezed by the compression paddle. If your breasts are sensitive, you may experience
    discomfort. If this is the case, schedule your mammogram about a week after your period, when your breasts are least tender.
  • You will then be asked to remain very still and hold your breath for a few seconds while the picture is taken.
  • You will be asked to change positions slightly between each picture, and then the process will be repeated for the other breast.
  • The entire test will take about 30 minutes to complete.

What to expect after your test or treatment

  • You will be asked to wait for a brief period of time after your mammogram while the technologist checks the pictures for clarity.
    You will then be free to leave.
  • You may resume all normal activities immediately.
  • A radiologist will study the pictures, describe any abnormalities and make a diagnosis.
  • A final report will be sent to your physician, and you will be notified of the results.

Returning home
If you have any questions after returning home, please contact your physician.

Thank you again for choosing Norton Healthcare imaging services. It is a pleasure to serve you.

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