A mammogram is an x-ray examination of the breasts. A mammogram can help to diagnose any changes or symptoms in the breasts including lumps, tenderness or pain, nipple discharge or any skin changes.
Breast Tomosynthesis software and reporting facility is available at North Shore Radiology & Nuclear Medicine.
Breast Tomosynthesis is an exciting new technique to remove the problem of overlapping tissue on standard mammographic images. Early studies suggest greatly increased detection of lesions over standard mammography. It will be performed at the same time as your routine mammographic images. You
may notice the mammographic unit gently moving above you while you are in the compression.
Please don’t wear perfume, lotion or talcum powder on the day of your appointment, as these substances may show up as shadows on your mammogram. Bring your deodorant with you, so you can put it on at the end of the examination.
Wear a two piece outfit, for comfort so you only need to undress from the waist up. Bring any previous mammogram films with you, so they can be compared with your mammogram.
If you have breast implants, please let us know when you are booking your appointment, as a longer appointment time will be scheduled.
What should I do on the day of the test?
Please remember to bring your request from your doctor for your mammogram, plus any previous mammograms, breast ultrasounds, or other related examinations. Please report to North Shore Radiology & Nuclear Medicine 15 minutes prior to your appointment time, to ensure registration is completed, and you are ready for your examination at the scheduled appointment time.
How is it done?
Firstly, we ask you to complete a questionnaire to obtain relevant information such as any family history of breast cancer, previous mammograms, or breast surgery.
We will provide you with a gown.
Your breasts will be placed, one at a time, between two special plates and compressed (pressed down) firmly for a few seconds whilst the x-rays are taken. Two views of each breast are performed as a minimum.
Is it painful?
The compression may be uncomfortable, or perhaps painful, but it only lasts a few seconds. Without compression, the x-rays would be blurry, which makes it difficult to see any abnormality.
Compression also reduces the amount of radiation required for the mammogram. Ideally it is best to have a mammogram one week after the start of your menstrual cycle, as your breasts will not
be as tender at this time.
How long does it take?
Standard mammography takes approximately 15 minutes, as the images are reviewed by our Radiologist (a specialist Doctor with breast image training).
Sometimes extra views are performed which take longer.
If you have breast implants, the mammography will take longer (40 minutes), as extra images are needed in order to see the breast tissue clearly. An ultrasound is generally required after the mammogram which takes a further 30 minutes.
Following your mammogram and any other relevant examinations, the radiologist will prepare a report. There may be a delay of approximately two hours while the report is typed. In some cases you may be able to take the films unreported and we will fax or email the report electronically to your doctor.
Our radiologists are dedicated to breast imaging and are skilled in breast assessment and screening. Their expertise in breast imaging is enhanced by involvement in many specific activities such as reading screening mammograms and assessing women for BreastScreen NSW; involvement in dedicated clinics for symptomatic women and involvement in cancer care multi-disciplinary teams.