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Digital Mammography

Services / Radiology / Digital Mammography


Digital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography (FFDM), is a mammography system in which the X-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert X-rays into electrical signals. These detectors are similar to those found in digital cameras.

What are the 2 types of mammograms?

There are two main types of mammography: film-screen mammography and digital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography or FFDM.

What is the difference between a digital mammogram and a regular mammogram?

There are two kinds of mammograms: digital and conventional. Both use X-ray radiation to produce an image of the breast, but conventional mammograms are read and stored on film, where digital mammograms are read and stored in a computer so the data can be enhanced, magnified, or manipulated for further evaluation.

How is a digital mammogram performed?

A technician positions your breast between two plates, and flattens and compresses it. They then takes images of your breast from top to bottom and side to side. It can be uncomfortable, but the entire process takes about 20 minutes. Film mammograms are saved on hard files.

Is digital mammography painful?

Everyone experiences mammograms differently. Some women may feel pain during the procedure, and others may not feel anything at all. Most women feel some discomfort during the actual X-ray process. The pressure against your breasts from the testing equipment can cause pain or discomfort, and that's normal.

How Long Does It Take?

You may be in the mammogram clinic for up to an hour; the mammogram itself takes about 10 to 15 minutes. You will be asked to wait; usually about 5 minutes; until the X-rays are developed, in the event repeat pictures need to be taken.

Are digital mammograms safe?

Digital mammograms expose patients to about one-quarter less radiation than traditional film mammograms. While the amount of radiation exposure during film mammography is very small and considered a very safe amount, digital mammograms expose patients to even less.

Is digital mammography the same as 3d?

3-D mammography takes multiple images, or X-rays, of breast tissue to recreate a 3-D picture of the breast. It's different from digital mammography in that digital mammography obtains just a single image. Images from both technologies are read on a computer.

When is the best time to have a mammogram?

The best time for a mammogram is usually one week following your period, when your breasts aren't as tender.

Can I have an ultrasound instead of a mammogram?

An ultrasound is generally not used as the primary screening tool for breast cancer. However, when used in conjunction with mammography, it can complement other breast cancer screening tools. Often, an ultrasound will be ordered when an abnormality is detected on a mammogram.

What is the best type of mammogram?

Breast health screenings that use digital mammograms have been proven to detect breast cancers better than conventional mammograms in three groups of women: those younger than 50, those with dense breasts and those who are pre-menopausal.

Can you eat and drink before a mammogram?

DO eat! There's no need to fast before a mammogram, as it will not affect the results. Feel free to eat, drink, and take medication.

What should you not do before a mammogram?

Avoid using deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts. Metallic particles in powders and deodorants could be visible on your mammogram and cause confusion. Consider an over-the-counter pain medication if you find that having a mammogram is uncomfortable.

How often should you get a 3D mammogram?

If you are wondering how often you should get a mammogram, it is recommended for a women to get a mammogram every year, starting at age 45-54. Women at the age 55+ are still advised to get a mammogram, at least every other year (as long as they are in good health and have no breast changes of concern)

How should you prepare for a mammogram?

  • Tell your doctor or the technician if you're pregnant or think that you could be.
  • Eat and take your medication as usual.
  • Don't use body powder, cream, deodorant, or lotion on your chest the day of the test. They may interfere with the X-rays.
  • You'll need to take off all clothes above your waist and put on a gown.

What Are the Potential Benefits of Digital?

  • More analysis. Because digital mammograms are stored electronically, they can be analyzed by computers as well as by radiologists.
  • Easier second opinions. They can easily be sent electronically for analysis.
  • More to see. The images can be manipulated for better clarity and visibility. Film mammogram can’t.
  • Lower average radiation dosage. Digital mammograms often take more views of each breast than the film kind -- and they use about 25% less radiation. That’s because smaller areas of the breast are imaged in each view.
  • Easier to store. The digital images stay on a computer. The film type produce bulky sets of films.


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