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Your Breast Mammogram Procedure

Emory Hillandale Hospital offers state-of-the-art technology to perform a screening and diagnostic breast mammogram. A mammogram procedure results in a special breast X-ray that can help to detect breast changes that are too small or too deep to feel. A mammogram screening is usually considered safe, quick, and relatively painless. Breast mammogram helps in aiding early diagnosis of breast cancer. Emory Hillandale Hospital offers digital mammogram screening, which provides:

  • Better contrast and brightness in the image.
  • Better evaluate of dense breast tissue.
  • Better accuracy than film mammography.
  • Quicker appointment times.
  • Electronic storage.
  • Fewer “call back” appointments to obtain additional images.

Types of Mammogram Screening

A screening mammogram is advised for women 40 years of age and older without breast concerns. Listen in as Emory Hillandale Hospital Breast Specialist April Speed, M.D. shares details about when to get a mammogram. You don’t need a physician’s order for this breast mammogram procedure but you should have the name of your referring physician available. This appointment will take approximately 20 minutes. You will be asked to undress from the waist up and be given a gown. Be prepared to answer detailed questions concerning your personal and family health history. The technologist will position each breast and take images. The breast X-ray images are viewed immediately for technical quality.

A diagnostic mammogram requires a referring physician’s order. This breast mammogram procedure is used when you are experiencing breast pain, have a breast lump, have had a stereotactic or ultrasound guided biopsy in the past year, have nipple discharge that is clear or bloody, or have a personal history of breast cancer in the last two years. Your experience will be mostly the same as your screening mammogram, although your visit may require additional time.

A stereotactic breast biopsy is a breast biopsy that uses a mammogram’s images to help guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site of the suspicious abnormality. Learn more about this mammography-guided biopsy.

Preparing for Your Mammogram

Some women say they avoid mammogram because they don’t know what to expect during a mammogram. On average, only two to four screening mammograms of every 1,000 lead to a diagnosis of cancer. About 10 percent of women who have a mammogram will need more tests, but most only will need another mammogram. Only eight to 10 percent of those women will need a biopsy, and most (80 percent) of those biopsies will not be cancer.

This information from Emory Hillandale Hospital and the American Cancer Society will help you know what to expect during a mammogram.

Helpful Tips for Your Mammogram

Schedule your mammogram when your breasts are the least tender. This will allow for optimal compression in the x-ray equipment. The most likely time for this would be the week after the onset of your menstrual cycle. Be sure to discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your doctor or nurse before having the mammogram.

If you have had previous mammograms at a facility other than Emory Hillandale Hospital, it is helpful to bring your images so our radiologists and technologists can compare your images and give you the best diagnostic evaluation possible.

On the day of your mammogram, don’t use powders, deodorant or body cream on your chest and underarm areas. Dress comfortably. If possible, a two piece outfit is best since you will be required to undress above the waist. We will provide a wrap for you to wear.

Always describe any breast symptoms or problems you are having to the technologist who is doing your mammogram. Be prepared to describe any related medical history such as surgeries, hormone use or any breast cancer that you or a family member have had.

Before having any type of imaging test, tell your radiology technologist if you are breast-feeding or if you think you might be pregnant.

What to Expect During Your Mammogram

A technologist will position your breasts on the x-ray machine for the mammogram. Most technologists are women. You and the technologist are the only people in the exam room during your mammogram.

The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. The actual breast compression only lasts a few seconds.

You may feel discomfort when each breast is compressed. If you are in pain, tell the technologist so she can try to make the compression more comfortable for you. If you are still having periods, try not to schedule your mammogram when your breasts are likely to be tender, as they may be just before or during your period.

All mammogram facilities now are required to send your results to you within 30 days. In most cases, you will be contacted within five working days if there is a problem with your mammogram.

Read more here for answers to frequently asked questions about having a mammogram at Emory Hillandale Hospital.

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