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Patient Information: 2D or 3D Mammogram?

You are here today for a Screening Mammogram, which has been proven to be beneficial in the
early detection of breast cancer. This facility utilizes the latest state of the art digital mammographic
technology: “Digital Breast Tomosynthesis”, also referred to as “3D Mammography” on TV
commercials and elsewhere in the lay press.

What is it?
A standard digital 2D mammogram provides a summation image of your breast in two projections.
A 3D mammogram obtains a volume image of your breast, somewhat akin to a CT scan.

What are the benefits of a 3D Mammogram?


A small percentage of women undergoing screening mammography will have an “indeterminate
finding” and be asked to return for additional imaging to provide clarification for the radiologist.
The majority of these indeterminate findings turn out to be of no concern at the time of recall.

For women with dense breast composition the 3D technique has been shown to reduce the incidence
of indeterminate findings on screening mammography, thus decreasing the number of women that
need to be recalled for additional imaging. 3D mammography may also be more sensitive in the
detection of small abnormalities in women with dense breast composition.

What else should I know?


Although still low, there is an increased radiation dose to the breast tissue with 3D mammography
compared to 2D mammography, which can be up to 2x greater.

3D mammography is also performed at a higher dollar cost than 2D mammography. Your insurance
provider may not cover this additional cost, or may not reimburse a 3D mammogram at all.

What should I do?


You will have a 3D mammogram today if your referring physician has specifically requested it.

Otherwise, if you have breast tissue composition that is heterogeneously dense or dense we
recommend opting for the 3D technique. If you have previously had a mammogram your
mammographer can inform you of your breast composition.

If this is your first (baseline) mammogram then we also recommend opting for the 3D technique.
Going forward you can make an informed decision on the technique for future mammograms based
on your findings today.

2D mammography remains a proven standard for women without dense breast composition. We
recommend standard 2D mammography in these patients, however you are free to opt for the 3D
technique if desired, based on the information provided above.