Mammography is a diagnostic imaging test used to detect and diagnose breast abnormalities, such as tumors, cysts, or other breast conditions. It is commonly used as a screening tool for early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer and to evaluate breast health.

Who conducts mammography?

A mammogram is conducted by a trained radiology technologist or mammographer who specializes in performing the procedure safely and accurately. The mammogram images are then interpreted by a radiologist with specific expertise in analyzing mammograms. The radiologist reviews the images and provides an interpretation. The results are then sent to the referring doctor, who will share them with the patient.

What are the types of mammograms?

There are two types of mammograms

  • Screening mammogram: This is the most common type of mammogram and is used as a preventive measure in women who have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer. It involves taking two X-ray images of each breast from different angles. The goal is to detect breast cancer at an early, asymptomatic stage.
  • Diagnostic mammogram: This type of mammogram is performed when there are specific breast symptoms or concerns, such as a lump, nipple discharge, or changes in breast tissue. Diagnostic mammograms provide more detailed images of the breast and may involve additional views to examine a specific area of concern.

How is a mammogram done?

Before mammography procedure

When scheduling a mammogram, keep the following in mind:

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Inform the doctor if there is pregnancy, breastfeeding, or suspicion of pregnancy. The doctor may recommend alternative imaging methods such as a breast ultrasound.
  • Menstruation: Avoid scheduling a mammogram the week before or during menstruation, as breast tenderness during this period may heighten discomfort during the procedure.
  • Breast Implants and Recent Vaccinations: Inform the doctor if breast implants are present or if a recent vaccine has been administered, as these factors may necessitate special considerations during the mammogram.

On the day of the mammogram, remember these guidelines:

  • Maintain routine: Eat, drink, and take medications as usual.
  • Avoid cosmetics and products: Refrain from wearing deodorant, perfume, lotion, or body powder on mammogram day. These products can interfere with the accuracy of the X-ray images.

Mammography procedure

The patient will be positioned in front of a dedicated X-ray machine during a mammogram. A trained technologist will carefully place the breast on a plastic plate, while another plate will be gently pressed from above to flatten the breast and hold it still during the X-ray process. The patient may experience some pressure during this compression. The process is repeated to capture a side view of the breast. The same procedure is then performed for the other breast. Afterward, the patient will wait while the technologist reviews the X-ray images to ensure they are of good quality, and if needed, additional images may be taken.

Screening mammograms usually take about 15 to 20 minutes. Diagnostic mammograms may take longer due to the additional images may be necessary to evaluate and diagnose specific breast concerns or abnormalities thoroughly.

The patient will usually get the results within a few weeks.

What happens if the mammogram is normal?

A normal mammogram indicates the radiologist did not detect any issues or abnormal areas in the breast images. It is crucial to continue receiving mammograms as recommended to maintain breast health. Regular screening mammograms are most beneficial when a radiologist can compare them to previous ones, enabling them to identify any changes that may occur in the breasts over time.

What happens if the mammogram is abnormal?

An abnormal mammogram does not necessarily indicate the presence of cancer. However, obtaining a conclusive diagnosis requires further evaluation through additional mammograms, tests, or examinations. In some cases, the patient may be referred to a breast specialist or surgeon who specializes in diagnosing breast conditions. It is important to note that an abnormal mammogram does not automatically indicate cancer or the need for surgery.


Select your Location

Please select your nearest location from the list below