Medically reviewed by
Dr. Steven Glassman
Carolina Radiology Associates
X-rays were first used for diagnosis and therapy in the late 1890s, making them oldest and still the most common form of medical imaging. X-rays also represent a prime example of continuing advancements in medical technology.
“Traditional 2D breast X-rays take one picture from the front and one form the side,” says McLeod Radiologist Dr. Steven Glassman. “In newer digital breast tomosynthesis, the X-ray tube moves in an arc around the breast, taking 11 images that are then compiled and computerized to produce a 3D image. The difference between 2D and 3D in the amount of X-rays a woman may be exposed to is minimal.
With 3D, radiologists can scroll through the numerous layers (images) of breast tissue, enabling them to see suspect areas more closely and sharply, especially in women with dense breast tissue.
Several studies have shown that 3D mammography potentially catches more signs of breast cancer than a 2D scan. The American Society of Breast Surgeons recommends 1) that ALL women over 40 have a yearly mammogram and 2) that all females who need a mammogram consider 3D.
If additional testing is called for, you may have another mammogram, ultrasound, MRI or breast biopsy.
Currently, most commercial insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid cover the cost of mammogram.
Since the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was enacted in 2010, all new health insurance plans are required to cover screening mammograms for women aged 40-and-older every one-to-two years with no out-of-pocket costs, such as co-insurance or co-payments.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
If you’re not sure whether a 3D mammogram is appropriate for you, talk with your personal physician.
Do you have questions about Mammograms or Breast Cancer ? Click here.
Sources include: McLeod Health, American College of Radiology Imaging Network, JAMA Internal Medicine, breastcancer.org, Radiological Society of America, Susan G. Koman Foundation, Jama Oncology, American Society of Breast Surgeons, American Cancer Society