Southern Virginia Medical Center radiology team members
Healthy Living

3 Reasons to Schedule a 3D Mammogram

Oct 28 2021

An annual screening mammogram is a must for women over 40.

At Bon Secours, we know that mammograms are not the most comfortable procedure, and that waiting for results and the possibility of false positives can cause a high level of anxiety. That’s why a few of our facilities, including Southern Virginia Medical Center, have upgraded to digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3D mammography.

3D mammography produces a three-dimensional view of the breast tissue that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue. This technology has been shown in clinical studies to be superior to traditional 2D digital mammography.

Michelle Brenner-Vincent, MD, Southern Virginia Radiology medical director, says that with the new 3D mammography capabilities, we can reduce discomfort and fear.

“3D mammograms are one, more accurate, two, show more detail and three, offer our patients more peace of mind,” she shares.

Read more as we break down these three reasons to schedule your 3D mammogram today.

More accurate

3D mammograms allow for more accurate detection and diagnosis of cancer. Traditional 2D mammograms only show top and side overlapping views of the breast for a total of four images. 3D mammograms create 300 images, or 300 layers throughout the breast tissue! With these additional images, radiologists might find diseases that traditional mammograms may miss.

More detail

Clearer images allow radiologists to see more detail in the breast tissue, making for a more certain diagnosis. This is especially important for women with dense breast tissue, who are at a higher risk for cancer and have more difficult mammograms to interpret. Think about breast tissue like a piece of glass. Less dense breast tissue is easier to look through – like a piece of glass. But dense breast tissue is more difficult to look through – like a piece of frosted glass. Dense breasts benefit from 3D mammography because of the detail it can capture with each layer.

More peace of mind

From a comfort perspective, 3D mammography offers a curved breast paddle that not only provides more comfort by conforming to the breast shape but also allows for a better scan of the breast. Because of improved detail, radiologists can provide a more accurate interpretation, reducing call backs for false positives. In fact, on average, imaging centers experience 30 percent fewer false positives when using 3D mammography.

Robert Squire, MD, chief of staff at Bon Secours Southern Virginia Medical Center adds, “one of the big benefits to having this technology that was not previously available in our community is that patients no longer have to leave the community to get 3D mammography services. This helps decrease the anxiety of additional waiting for scheduling and travel.”

The 3D mammography exam complements 2D digital mammography and is performed at the same time with the same equipment. There is no additional compression required, and it only takes a few more seconds longer for each view.

Please note that 3D mammography may not be covered under all insurance plans or providers. However, regardless if it is 2D or 3D, an annual mammogram is a must!

Learn more about the mammograms and breast health services we offer at Bon Secours.

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