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Why the switch to digital?
Digital mammography was developed for many important reasons. A digital system transfers images to a computer so they can be electronically enhanced. Your doctor can zoom in, magnify and optimize different parts of the breast tissue using just four standard pictures. And special software allows your doctor to view the entire breast on one image.
How do digital mammograms differ from conventional film?
The steps involved from your perspective will be very similar. How the images are captured and what healthcare providers can do with them sets digital apart. Digital mammograms allow your doctor to focus in on the areas of concern, which enhance readability and interpretation of the image. Digital also allows the images to be stored and transferred throughout the care network.
When should I have a mammogram?
If you’re a woman 40 and over, you should have a mammogram every year to check for abnormalities or lumps that may indicate early stages of breast cancer. Women with personal or family histories of breast cancer should consult their doctors about the need for more frequent or earlier mammography. However, mammograms do not replace breast self-exams. Although mammograms can see cancerous lesions earlier than you can feel them with a self-exam, it is still important to examine your breasts every month.
I’ve heard that digital mammography is better for patients who have dense breasts. What is the difference between dense and fatty breasts?
Your breast contains varying amounts of glandular (dense) tissue and fatty tissue. The more glandular tissue, the denser the breast. Digital mammography is better for imaging dense breast tissue than a traditional film method.
How long will my digital mammogram take?
It will take about 10 to 15 minutes for your healthcare provider to acquire the images. The compression and positioning are the same as traditional mammography but with less waiting time and far fewer call backs – a 20 to 30 percent reduction in call backs. Your doctor will know right away if the image positioning is correct.
Does a digital mammogram involve any radiation?
The amount of radiation you’ll receive is approximately the same as with a traditional film mammogram, but may be less if you have very dense breast tissue.
Is there anything I can do to make the exam go more smoothly?
It’s best not to wear deodorant or powder the day of your exam since it could affect the image. Also, wear a two-piece outfit because you’ll need to undress from the waist up. And, schedule your mammogram shortly after the end of your period to ease any discomfort.
If you have a physician prescription for a mammogram, call Central Scheduling at 954-759-7500 for an appointment at Broward Health Imperial Point.
If you need a physician referral, please call the Broward Health Line at 954-759-7400.