Digital Breast Tomosynthesis or 3D mammography is state-of-the-art technology using x-rays to produce a three dimensional digital image of the breast in conjunction with a 2D image obtained with traditional digital mammography.
Tomosynthesis uses x-rays to image the breast, and rotates around the breast while taking multiple images. Those images are then assembled to produce a highly focused 3D image. Tomosynthesis allows radiologists to gain better visualization of the breast, which is the primary benefit of this new technology. Other benefits include:
- Earlier detection of small breast cancers that may be hidden
- No overlapping breast tissue from breast compression
- Greater accuracy in pinpointing size, shape and location of abnormalities
- Greater likelihood of detecting multiple breast tumors, which occur in 15% of breast cancer patients
- More detailed images of dense breast tissue
There are benefits to using this technology that include, greater clarity, early detection of breast abnormalities, reduction in the number of call backs for additional studies, and shown to be beneficial for women with dense or extremely dense breasts.
Currently not all insurances cover 3D screenings, we encourage patients to check with their health insurance to confirm it is included in their plan or if an authorization is needed. There is an additional cost of $100 for 3D, if the patient’s health insurance does not include 3D. A 20% discount will apply to the 3D fee if paid in full at time of service.
Every year over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, affecting 1 in 8 women in the U.S. Women age 40 and older should have a yearly mammogram, regardless of whether it is 2D or 3D. Mammography is the only test that has been shown in multiple studies to lower a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer. In fact screening mammography reduces the mortality rate from breast cancer by as much as 30%, and women younger than 50 who are diagnosed have an increased risk of getting an aggressive form of breast cancer. While family history is an important risk factor to share with your doctor, many women do not realize that 75% of breast cancers diagnosed are in women with no family history.
It’s with these facts in mind that breast health experts and doctors agree that in the fight against breast cancer, early detection is the key to a much better chance of survival. With emerging technologies such as 3D imaging survival rates are going up and invasive cancers are being found at an earlier, more treatable stage.
When you have your mammogram, it is preferable that you dress in a two-piece outfit. The patient aide will show you to a private dressing room, hand you a robe, and ask you to remove everything above your waist. Avoid using any perfume, powder or deodorant in the breast or underarm area on that day (particles from the chemicals may distort the image on the film). You may ask for wipes if needed.
3D Mammography or tomosynthesis is available at two of our breast centers:
- The Jim & Eleanor Randall Breast Center in Pasadena, CA; schedule at (626) 698-7210
- Huntington-Hill Breast Center in Arcadia, CA; schedule at (626) 698-7266