What is a Mammography?

Mammography (also called mastography) is the process of using low-energy X-rays (usually around 30 kVp) to examine the human breast, which is used as a diagnostic and screening tool. The goal of mammography is the early detection of breast cancer, typically through detection of characteristic masses and/or microcalcifications.


What should I expect?

For the exam, you will be asked to remove all jewelry issued a locker to use during the exam, where you will lock personal belongings for safekeeping during the test. Your purse and/or wallet, keys, phone, tablet, etc. will be placed in the locker with your clothing. Females will be required to remove a bra for the exam. Other jewelry will be removed if it could interfere with the exam quality. Not all objects interfere, so detailed instructions will be given, always with your safety as the primary concern.

The entire procedure will take approximately 30 minutes.

The procedure requires each of your breasts to be gradually compressed against the platform for a short time. Pressure is applied for a few seconds to spread out the breast tissue. The compression can be uncomfortable, but is very important to even out the thickness and allow the x-ray to create an accurate picture. This will minimize the amount of radiation needed to perform the exam.”

What can I do to prepare?

You should avoid eating and drinking food or beverages containing caffeine. Breast sensitivity and tenderness is known to occur after consumption and may lead to increased discomfort during the exam. Consider abstaining for a 2-day period or longer before your procedure.

Do not use any deodorants prior to examination. These often contain metal or calcium, and can distort the accuracy of the exam by casting shadows on the images. These could be misconstrued as abnormal breast tissue.

When you arrive for the procedure, you will be assigned a dressing room and asked to remove clothing and jewelry from the waist up. To make things simpler, it may be in your best interest to wear a two-piece outfit for the occasion.

Compression of your breasts during the mammogram is used to spread out the underlying tissue and increase image quality. This is necessary, but it can be painful. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever an hour before the procedure to alleviate this pain.