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MAMMOGRAPHY

VanRad is proud to be a regional leader in mammography services, accredited by the American College of Radiology or (ACR) with state of the art digital and computer-aided technologies for mammography; and our staff, radiologists and technologists, have achieved the highest standard of expertise through national certifications and specialties.  Among our radiologists, you will find breast imaging fellowship trained and board-certified physicians and our mammography technologists are certified by the American Registered Radiological Technologists (ARRT) with a specialty in mammography.

What is Mammography?

A mammogram is a low dose x-ray study of the breast tissue.  The purpose of a mammogram is to identify any potential sites of breast cancer in the earliest stages of development when most cancers are successfully treated.  Mammography can often detect breast cancer years before a lump in the breast can be felt and can identify breast cancer earlier than physical examinations alone.  Annual mammograms are recommended by the American Cancer Society for women who are 40 or more years of age, or women at high-risk for breast cancer, including those with a family history of the same.

A screening mammogram is a quick, routine exam for women who have no breast-related issues or symptoms.  These exams are usually considered as preventative treatment by most insurance providers.  *Women 40 years and older may schedule their annual screening mammogram without a physician order.

A diagnostic mammogram requires a physician order and is intended to "problem solve" for women who may have current breast-related issues or symptoms.  These exams are not considered preventative by insurance providers due to the presence of symptoms.  A co-pay and/or deductible may apply.  Please check with your health insurance provider regarding your specific plan benefits.

Additional views may be requested when an initial screening mammogram reveals an abnormality or suspicious area.  These "additional views" are completed to assist the radiologist in ensuring a thorough mammographic exam has been conducted.  These exams are not considered preventative by insurance providers due to the presence of a suspicious area that requires further evaluation.  A co-pay and/or deductible may apply.  Please check with your health insurance provider regarding your specific plan benefits.

 

 

 

 

Digital Technology

Providing patients with access to the most advanced technology for accurate diagnosis is a priority of our practice.  Every screening and diagnostic mammogram performed at Vancouver Radiology is examined by Computer-Aided Detection (CAD) for mammography.  CAD software acts as a "spell-check" for medical images and assists radiologists by highlighting areas that warrant a second review.  Some of the advantages of this technology to the patient include sharper image quality giving the radiologist the best possible detail allowing faster, more accurate results with less wait time for the patient.

VanRad is proud to offer our patients the high tech, soft touch mammogram.  In addition to our digital technology, we include the MammoPad breast cushion.  The MammoPad is a soft, foam pad that creates a cushion between you and the mammography machine so you can relax, knowing your mammogram will be warm and comfortable with confident results.

3D Mammography

3D Mammography is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram.  Breast tomosynthesis (3D Mammography) produces a three-dimensional view of the breast tissue providing improved visibility for the radiologist to see the breast tissue detail in a way not possible before.

Benefits of 3D Mammography

A 3D mammogram is very similar to a traditional mammogram and is performed during the same appointment.  There is no additional compression of the breast and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view.  Breast tomosynthesis is a technological advance that has been confirmed in recent clinical studies to improve breast cancer detection accuracy both in terms of detecting harder to find cancers and decreasing the number of call backs for patients that do not have breast cancer.  This has been particularly applicable to patients with mammographically dense breasts or extremely dense breasts.

Is There More Radiation Dose?

Our site uses the lowest does available for 3D mammography.  A very low x-ray energy is used during the exams, just about the same as a standard 2D mammogram, and lower than a traditional film mammogram.  The total patient dose is within the FDA safety standards for mammography.

Who Can Have a 3D Mammography Exam?

It is approved for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram, in both screening and diagnostic settings.

Is There an Additional Cost for a 3D Mammogram?

Not all insurance companies are currently covering the cost of 3D mammography and there may be out of pocket expense for the 3D mammogram.  That expense will vary based on insurance type and coverage.  We encourage patients to verify their benefits with their insurance company prior to their exam.

 

If you would like more information or are interested in scheduling an appointment, please call (360) 254-4914.  You can also learn more online by visiting Society of Breast Imaging.

Preparing for a Mammogram

We recommend you:

  • Dress comfortably in a two-piece outfit to make it easy to undress from the waist up
  • Refrain from using any power, deodorant, or lotion(s) on the underarm area or breasts prior to an exam; these products may interfere with the images taken of the breasts
  • Schedule your mammogram 7-10 days after the first day of your menstrual period (when applicable) so the breasts will be less tender at that time.  Patients that are breastfeeding should discontinue 3-6 months before having a mammogram.
  • Inform the scheduler if you have breast implants, as it requires additional exam time.
During a Mammogram

A technologist will review your clinical history prior to the exam.  When applicable, please notify the performing technologist immediately if there is any chance that you may be pregnant.  Exams generally include two views of each breast, but more views are often obtained.  Each breast is firmly positioned between two plates on the mammography machine.  You may experience some discomfort during a mammogram as the breasts are compressed in an effort to visualize as much breast tissue as possible.  This discomfort will usually subside when the exam is complete.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your exam, please ask your technologists.  The technologist will ensure the images taken are complete and accurate before you leave the clinic; however please note, the technologist does not interpret the images.

After a Mammogram

Our radiologists will review and interpret your mammogram images.  Per MQSA guidelines, we are required to provide written exam results to both you and your physician, on all breast-related studies.

If upon review of your images our radiologist recommends further imaging evaluation, you may be contacted by either your physician or our Patient Navigator, on behalf of your physician, before you receive the written results in the mail.  As always, if you have questions or concerns at any time, please contact us and ask to speak to one of our Patient Navigators at (360) 254-4914.

In the case of all diagnostic breast exams, patients are consulted and provided preliminary verbal results prior to leaving the breast center.