A mammogram usually takes about 30 minutes to complete. You will be asked to change into a gown and a mammographer will ask you questions related to your breast health and family history. She will also want to know where and when your prior mammograms were performed. Our radiologist may want to compare these studies with images taken at our center to evaluate any subtle changes that may have taken place.
Once your history has been completed we will do your exam. We will take two pictures of each breast, one from the top and one from the side. If your study is being performed to diagnosis a known abnormality, more images may be acquired. Your gown is designed to be worn throughout the exam and to expose only the breast being imaged. Your technologist might need to readjust your position several times in order to get the desired image. We want to make sure that the entire breast has been examined during your mammogram.
After the technologist has you positioned she will compress your breast between two plate-like structures. Compression is very important to your study. It lowers the radiation exposure, spreads the breast tissue so that it will not overlap and hide information and it helps to sharpen the image acquired. Compression lasts only several seconds and will be released the moment the exposure is over.
After the Exam
There are no side effects to the exam and you can return to work or normal activity immediately. Your images will be reviewed and interpreted by one of our staff radiologists. Previous studies may be compared against your new exam and the results will be sent directly to your physician. Our goal is to provide your physician with a report within 24 hours of the examination. Having all your outside films at the time of your exam helps ensure your results within that time frame.
The actual results of your exam will be given to you by your doctor. EPIC will mail you a letter within 10 days briefly summarizing our findings.