- Rather than taking two images of the breast from different angles –which is done with standard screening mammography, multiple images are taken at small distances apart to compose the breast image.
- Taking the multiple images theoretically increases the ease of detecting a lesion that might be missed with standard mammography – particularly so in dense breast tissue where it can be difficult to detect masses.
- There is twice as much radiation administered at the time of the screening exam because 3D is always done in conjunction with standard screening mammography at this time.
- Studies have shown a decrease in call back rates, and slight increase in number of cancers detected.
Ok then, should every body get one? Well, first consider that it is not covered by insurance – usually runs $75 out of pocket at the time of your screening. Secondly, that it is another form of the same kind of study.
In my opinion, if a woman is concerned about obtaining additional imaging secondary to her dense breasts and or family history, she would be better served to add a sonogram to her screening. Again, not covered by insurance, but provides an alternate form of evaluating the breast tissue.
In summary, 3D mammography is still in its infancy in garnishing enough data for me to strongly recommend to my patients – but may be promising in the future.
Another tidbit from the celebrity surgeon, because every patient is a star.
– Dr. Terre Quinn