3D Mammography


Vancouver Radiologists is deeply committed to women’s health and breast imaging and is pleased to announce that 3D Mammography is available at our Breast Center located in the Vancouver Village Shopping Center.

What is 3D Mammography?PinkRibbon_Poster

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.

What are the 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 dose 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. Click here for a list of insurances that we know do and do not cover 3D mammography. We encourage patients to verify their benefits with their insurance company prior to their exam.

How do I learn more about 3D Mammography?

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 powder, 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 examination. 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 technologist. 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.