Mammography & Breast Imaging in Dallas, TX
What Is Mammography?
Mammography, also known as a mammogram, is the examination of the breast using specialized X-ray imaging techniques. Mammography is considered the most effective tool for early breast tumor detection. Most medical experts agree that successful treatment of breast cancer often is linked to early diagnosis. Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or provider can detect them as physical changes.
Dr. Tricia Shimer uses digital mammography, which is also known as a full-field digital mammography. Digital mammography allows the technician performing the test to alter the orientation, magnification, brightness and contrast to produce images of the breast that can be seen more clearly on a computer screen. Computer-aided detection, or CAD, uses a digitized mammographic image to search for abnormal areas of density, mass, or calcification that may indicate the presence of cancer or other serious complications. The CAD system highlights these areas on the images, alerting Dr. Shimer to any need for further analysis.
4 Advantages of Digital Mammography
- Compared to conventional mammography which takes 10-15 minutes, digital mammography images are taken in less than a minute.
- The superior contrast resolution of digital mammography and its ability to manipulate images make for more accurate detection of breast cancers.
- Computer-aided detection, or CAD, obtains a second, computerized reading in the hope of finding more cancers or more accurately gauging signs of malignancy.
- Digital mammograms can be archived in various ways and easily retrieved, and copied.
How Often Should I Have a Mammogram?
Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend mammograms every year for women, beginning at age 40.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends that women who have had breast cancer and those who are at increased risk due to a genetic history of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and about the frequency of screening.
When Should I Schedule My Mammogram?
Before scheduling a mammogram, you should discuss any problems or concerns about your breasts with Dr. Shimer. It is important to disclose any information related to hormone use, prior surgeries, and family or personal history of breast cancer since each of these can influence your personal risk for breast cancer. Generally, the best time to schedule a mammogram is one week following your period. Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. Always inform your X-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant before beginning this exam.
How Should I Prepare for a Mammogram?
On the day of the exam patients are advised to:
- Not wear lotion, deodorant, or powder under your arms or on your breasts
- Describe any problems they are experiencing with their breasts
- Remove all jewelry and clothing from the waist up before putting on a gown that opens in the front.
What Should I Expect During This Exam?
To take diagnostic images of the breast, an X-ray technician will position you near the machine and your breast will be placed on a platform before being compressed with a paddle. Breast compression is necessary in order to:
- Even out the breast thickness so that all of the tissue can be visualized.
- Spread out the tissue so that small abnormalities will not be obscured.
- Allow for the use of less radiation in order to reach the targeted tissues being analyzed.
- Hold the breast still to eliminate blurring of the image caused by motion.
- Reduce X-ray scatter to increase picture sharpness.
The technologist will go behind a glass shield while making the X-ray exposure. Patients will be asked to change positions slightly between views, and it is routine to gain views from the top-to-bottom as well as from the side of the breast. The same process is then repeated once again for the other breast.
What Will I Experience During the Procedure?
The entire exam lasts for about a half an hour. The technologist will apply compression on your breast and, as a result, you will feel pressure on the breast as it is squeezed by the machine. Some women with sensitive breasts may experience some minor discomfort. Be sure to inform the technologist if pain occurs as compression is increased. If discomfort is significant, less compression will be used.
Schedule a Mammogram Today
Dr. Shimer and her team are available for screenings during regular office hours. Call us at (469) 364-3760 to schedule your mammogram today!