© 2023 Capital Radiology
Mammography and Bone Density
MAMMOGRAPHY OR ULTRASOUND?
Ultrasound is used as an adjunct to mammography. In younger patients – under 35 – ultrasound is the first line of investigation for breast complaints. Ultrasound can also be utilised for assessing patients with implants, when mammography is contra-indicated.
SPECIAL BREAST IMAGING APPLICATIONS
Tomosynthesis and Automated Breast Volume Scanning (ABVS) are also available as additional diagnostic tools. 3 Tesla Breast MRI can be performed as an adjunct to the above diagnostic studies in challenging cases (eg. dense breasts, strong family history, BRCA1/2 gene positive). MRI can aid in evaluating the extent of disease, as well as identifying possible disease in the other breast. Breast MRI is not routinely done and cases will be carefully selected, after thorough review of the initial findings.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PREPARE FOR A MAMMOGRAM?
Call us and make an appointment. On the day, choose a two-piece outfit as your upper body needs to be partially exposed during the examination. Also do not use underarm antiperspirant deodorant or roll on – it shows up on mammograms.
ARE MAMMOGRAMS PAINFUL?
They generally are not at all. But sensitivity to breast compression can occur in some people. It is best to arrange a mammogram study during the days immediately following your menstruation.
Our team forms part of a Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic that includes radiologists, breast surgeons, radiation & medical oncologists and plastic & reconstructive surgeons, who meet regularly and ensure ongoing best practice management for diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
We also offer DEXA bone densitometry studies to assess bone density and monitor fracture risk associated with osteoporosis.
A primary focus of our practice is women’s health – specifically identifying the early signs of breast cancer through screening and diagnostic mammography.
WHAT IS A MAMMOGRAM?
A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of the breast and adjacent soft tissues. Mammograms are used to confirm or exclude the presence of breast cancer and other conditions which affect the breasts. The benefit of screening mammography is to detect early non-palpable breast cancers.
WHO SHOULD DO IT?
All women over the age of 40.
And any women or men who are aware of changes in the shape and feel of the breast tissues. A mammogram takes only a few minutes to obtain, and it can help to save your life.
We recommend annual, or two-yearly mammograms from the age of 40. Follow-up interval will be dictated by breast density. Higher risk patients – with a positive family history – can have a baseline study done at 35, or ten years prior to when cancer was detected in a relative.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A MAMMOGRAM?
Mammograms are quick and easy. Your breasts will be individually placed on a flat surface and X-rayed in two or more planes. Compression is necessary to spread the breast tissue and prevent motion. Our experienced team of mammography technologists and radiologists will analyse and assess the results, and report back to you directly. A report will be e-mailed to you and your doctor.
It is very important to bring your most recent breast imaging studies with you. These studies could provide vital information in assessing the current studies for subtle interval changes. Should your breast tissue be particularly dense, you might have to undergo an ultrasound examination. And, should the radiologist believe it necessary, you will be encouraged to extend your stay while the radiologist performs an immediate biopsy, where a sample of cells or tissue is directly extracted from the breast by needle and submitted to a laboratory for testing. Your radiologist will advise you of the process thereafter.