Tomosynthesis: A new dimension in breast cancer screening
Tomosynthesis at Bayshore
Early detection is a woman’s best defense against breast cancer, and when found at its earliest stages, provides the best chance for survival and treatment. Bayshore Medical Center is proud to offer tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, to our patients. This innovative technology is the latest advancement in mammography, which provides radiologists with clearer, more accurate images of your breasts, and you with greater peace of mind when it comes to your health.
What is Tomosynthesis?
Tomosynthesis produces three-dimensional images of each individual layer of the breast, making abnormal tissue more visible. It highlights suspicious masses more clearly, allowing radiologists to effectively pinpoint the size, shape, and location of possible abnormalities. It may be done in conjunction with a 2D screening mammography or diagnostic 2D mammography, or as a standalone exam.
How does it work?
The breast is positioned the same way it is in a 2D mammogram, but with less pressure. An X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple detailed images, using low doses of radiation. The 3D images are then produced by a computer so the radiologist may easily view details of each layer of the breast tissue, and interpret the results for a more accurate diagnosis, which allows for a better medical strategy, should further testing or treatment be required.
Benefits of tomosynthesis
- More detailed images that may reduce the chance of a false-positive result and/or reduced need for additional follow-up exams, especially in women with dense breasts which may obscure underlying lesions.
- Earlier and easier detection of early stage breast cancers
- Precise pinpointing of the size, shape, and location of potential abnormalities
Breast health is a personal experience for a woman, and every woman’s health needs are different and unique. If you are a woman age 40 and older, and are preparing to make your annual mammogram appointment, talk to your doctor about your options for early detection, and to see if tomosynthesis may be right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is tomosynthesis (3D mammography)?
Tomosynthesis is an advanced new screening and diagnostic mammography tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D mammogram, or as a standalone exam. During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images. Then a computer produces a 3D image of the breast tissue in one-millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see distinct breast details in a way that has never been possible. Radiologists can effortlessly scroll through images of the entire breast.
What is the difference between 3D mammography and traditional 2D mammography?
With traditional digital mammography (2D mammography), the radiologist is viewing all the breast tissue in one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion that normal breast tissue looks like an abnormal area, which sometimes may result in a false-positive test result.
By looking at the breast tissue in one-millimeter slices, as 3D mammography allows, the radiologist has the ability to look more closely at each individual layer of the breast tissue across multiple images and identify masses or abnormalities more accurately.
What should I expect during 3D mammography?
3D mammography is performed using the same type of equipment and technique as with traditional 2D mammography.
Is the radiation dose higher?
The dose of radiation is slightly higher for a 3D mammogram than with a 2D digital mammogram, but the dose is well below the FDA limit for mammography, and about the same as a traditional film mammogram. It is still a safe way to screen for breast abnormalities.
Will my insurance cover the exam?
Coverage of a 3D exam varies depending on each individual carrier. Please call your provider if you have any questions.
Who is a candidate for 3D mammography?
Every woman’s breasts are different and therefore may require different levels or types of diagnostic exams. However, 3D mammography may be beneficial for women with dense breasts and those with a history of breast cancer, including breast cancer survivors. If you are a woman age 40 and older, and are preparing to make your annual mammogram appointment, talk to your doctor about your options for early detection, and to see if tomosynthesis may be right for you.
Bayshore Medical Center
727 North Beers Street
Holmdel, NJ 07733
To learn more about our Women’s Center or to schedule an appointment, please call 732-962-7230.
Hours of Service
Extended evening and weekend appointments are available.