What Is A Mammography

what is a mammography

What is a Mammography?

A mammography is a procedure that uses low-energy X-rays to view the internal structures of the breast. The goal of the procedure is to detect breast cancer early through the detection of characteristic masses and microcalcifications. It is usually performed on women with a family history of breast cancer. However, this process is not completely painless. This article will help you understand more about this medical procedure. Here is what you should know before your appointment.


While the X-rays used for mammography are lower than those used for radiography, the difference between the energy of the X-rays that penetrate the normal breast tissues and those that penetrate the cancerous ones is much smaller. Typical x-ray energies are forty keV or higher. It is preferred to use low-energy X-rays for mammography, but this cannot be done at the expense of exposing healthy breast tissue to unnecessary radiation.

During mammography, you’ll stand in front of a special X-ray machine. A technologist will place a plastic plate on your breast, while another plate presses down from above. Both of these plates hold the breast in place while the x-rays are taken. The resulting images are side views of your breast. A technologist checks four X-rays to ensure they’re all clear. Without these images, he or she cannot tell whether you have a cancer or not.

Women who have breast cancer should inform their health care provider if they’re pregnant. Exposure to radiation during pregnancy is harmful to the fetus, so special precautions will be taken to minimize the radiation exposure to the fetus. X-rays can cause discomfort, but compression won’t damage your breast. Other risks may be associated with certain medical conditions. If you’re pregnant or nursing, tell your health care provider if you’re pregnant.

Specially-treated plates

X-rays are external rays that pass through structures in the body to create images of those structures. The X-rays travel through these structures and land on special plates, creating images that are negative in nature. In general, the more solid a structure is, the whiter it appears on film. Breast imaging experts explain how these images are created. For example, the breasts have fifteen to twenty lobes, each of which contains dozens of tiny bulbs that produce milk.

Women should always tell their healthcare provider if they are pregnant because the radiation exposure during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Because of this, special precautions will be taken to minimize radiation exposure to the fetus. The compression of the breasts may be uncomfortable or painful, but it won’t cause damage. Other risks may depend on your medical history and other factors. In general, the process takes about a minute and can save your life.

In addition to the special plate, a mammogram may be used for screening. Screening mammograms are done on women with no breast symptoms and those who have a family history of breast cancer. Women who have had a baby after the age of 30 are also at increased risk. Women who have never given birth or those with breast problems are also recommended to have regular screenings. Even benign breast lesions may be harmless and may not be detected by a mammogram.

Low-dose x-rays

Mammography uses a low-dose x-ray technique during imaging of the breast. This procedure requires the patient to lie still during the examination. Mammograms can detect breast cancer up to three years before symptoms start. Early detection is vital for effective treatment. Mammograms can track changes in breast tissue over time and guide treatment if cancer is detected. However, false-positive results can cause extra expense, additional testing, and stress.

The radiation dose for a screening mammogram is 0.4 mSv, which is less than the amount of natural radiation that the body receives in a single year. This is still far less than the dose that can result in adverse effects. Moreover, a mammogram that uses the low-dose C-View low-dose 3-D technology delivers only 1.45 mSv, less than half of the amount of radiation that an average person will absorb from the environment in a year. Low-dose radiation doses are associated with few negative effects, and the procedure is highly recommended for women who are pregnant.

While receiving a mammogram, women must hold their breasts still for several seconds. This is crucial to ensuring a high-quality picture with the lowest radiation dose. Compression also prevents breast movements during exposure, increasing the sharpness of the image. The radiation dose of a standard 2D mammogram is 0.4 millisieverts. This is still much lower than the 0.4 millisieverts that women receive during a standard X-ray of the chest.

Computer-aided detection systems

CAD (Computer Aided Detection) systems have been developed to support mammography radiologists. These systems may represent a low-cost alternative to improve diagnosis. Currently, four systems have received FDA approval. Studies have shown an increase in sensitivity when CAD systems are used in mammography. Further, CAD systems are easy to use and cost less than a radiologist’s time and energy.

The use of CAD can help expert and nonexpert breast radiologists detect cancer. This application improves diagnostic performance of nonexpert radiologists and increases their confidence in their interpretations. The primary benefit of CAD for non-expert radiologists was improved sensitivity, regardless of their level of training. In this study, we evaluated the sensitivity of the computer-aided detection system and determined who could benefit most from its use.

The use of CAD systems increases sensitivity and reduces the likelihood of false-negative results. This technology was initially introduced to detect lung nodules and has improved detection rates for both breast cancer and non-cancer patients. It is expected that CAD will soon be used in many other diagnostic imaging procedures. This article reviews the current efficacy of CAD in mammography and considers its future directions.

Some studies have reported that CAD has a positive impact on breast cancer detection, increasing the sensitivity by 20 percent. However, a systematic review found that CAD used in mammography practices in the United States has a mixed effect on detection rates. Some studies have reported an increase in sensitivity, while others found that CAD use led to an increase in recall rates. Further, the cost of CAD increased.

Precautions to avoid during a mammogram

Women are usually advised to wear comfortable clothing that covers the entire breast area, preferably in a two-piece outfit. They should avoid wearing perfume, talcum powder, or other perfume-based products, as these may cause particles that could affect the images produced by the mammogram. They should also leave their neck jewelry at home and ask their provider about any other jewelry they may want to remove. Women are also advised to avoid skin care products, which may leave deposits on the skin and interfere with X-rays.

Although screening mammograms are effective in detecting some types of breast cancer, they may miss cancer that is small enough to be detected by mammography. Moreover, some of them are difficult to detect, are aggressive, or have a tendency to spread. Precautions to avoid during a mammogram may help you schedule a screening that is right for you. It may save your life, and you can be sure your doctor will be able to spot anything that might be abnormal.

Before having a mammogram, women are encouraged to bring previous mammogram images and biopsy results. By doing so, the radiologist can compare the current study to your previous images and decide whether there is a need for additional views and biopsies. Women should also eat a normal meal before the procedure. In addition, women should avoid wearing perfume, deodorant, or body lotion. Women are encouraged to take their medications at least one hour before the mammogram.

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