A mammogram is when a low-dose X-ray machine produces an image of the breast by passing small bursts of X-rays through the breast to a detector on the other side of the breast. It does this by passing small bursts of X-rays through the breast to a detector on the other side of the breast. At Orlando Health, we use high-definition digital technology with tomography, also called DBT, to take detailed images of the breast.
During a mammogram, your breast will be placed on a flat support plate and compressed with a parallel plate called a paddle. We capture these images and they are electronically sent to a computer. A radiologist then interprets the images of your breast and looks for signs of breast cancer or other abnormalities, such as benign tumors, calcifications (benign or malignant), fibroadenomas or cysts.
If you have signs or symptoms of a breast abnormality, such as a lump, your doctor will recommend a diagnostic mammogram to look at your breast tissue. Any additional imaging that’s needed will be done following the traditional four-view exam. Results are given the same day.
Your doctor may also use a diagnostic mammogram if you have been treated for breast cancer in the past. Be sure to talk with your doctor about any family history of breast and other cancers.
The goal of screening mammograms is to find breast cancer in women before they have any symptoms. A mammogram can often find breast changes that could be cancer years before symptoms develop. During a screening mammogram, a technologist takes images of each breast from the top and side. The radiologist will interpret the images at a later time. If additional imaging is needed, we will call you to return for the follow-up imaging.
During a mammogram, you will undress from the waist up. Your technologist will give you a gown or wrap to wear during the exam.
Once you are changed and comfortable, a technologist will place your breast on the mammogram machine’s imaging plate. Then, the technologist will lower a plastic plate on top of your breast. The two plates will come together and compress your breast and an image will be taken. You will change positions and repeat this process for each breast.
If you are undergoing a diagnostic mammogram, a radiologist will check the images after the test is completed. The technologist can take additional imaging (if needed) while you are there, if the radiologist wants to look at an area more closely.
While each compression only lasts for a short period of time, you may feel some discomfort in your breasts during the exam. This discomfort is temporary and entirely normal.