Traditional Mammogram vs. 3D Mammogram
Screening mammograms are designed to detect tiny abnormalities of the breast in healthy women starting at age 40. These screenings give physicians a baseline record of a woman’s normal breast tissue appearance and can be re-examined in the future to compare to new results, especially those that might indicate the presence of a mass or tumor.
When mammograms became widely available in the early 1990s, 2D x-ray mammograms were the norm. Now, with the advent of 3D mammography, physicians have a more powerful test for the early detection of breast cancer.
What Is 3D Mammography?
3D mammography, also called tomosynthesis, utilizes the same technology as traditional 2D x-ray mammograms. To the patient, the exam itself is almost identical to a traditional mammogram although it takes a few seconds longer. During the exam, breast tissue is flattened between two plastic paddles to expose as much tissue as possible to the camera. From there, the x-ray arm arcs over the breast to record multiple “slices” of images that come together on a computer screen as a 3D image. The image “slices” are similar to photographing each page in a book, rather than just the front and sides.
What Is the Difference Between 2D and 3D Mammograms?
A radiologist has the advantage of being able to examine a clearer image with 3D mammography versus a traditional 2D image. In a traditional mammogram, breast tissue layers overlap, potentially obscuring signs of breast cancer.
What Are the Advantages of Choosing 3D Mammography?
Studies show that 3D mammograms are more effective in detecting breast cancer. 3D mammograms are better at finding more invasive types of cancer, giving women better treatment options that don’t require chemotherapy. Other advantages include:
- Fewer false positive results
- Fewer callbacks for additional testing
- Less wait time for results
What Are the Drawbacks of 3D Mammograms?
Although there are few disadvantages to getting a 3D mammogram, you should weigh the pros and cons before scheduling your appointment. Disadvantages include:
- Cost – 3D mammograms cost more than traditional mammograms at some facilities and your insurance may bill you at a higher rate. 2D mammograms are covered for anyone who has insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
- Availability – Some clinics may not have 3D technology, but most are quickly adopting it. You may have to travel to a large city in your area to find a facility that offers it.
- Slightly higher radiation – Since it takes a few seconds longer, you’ll be exposed to more radiation. However, the additional amount is tiny and researchers don’t believe it's a reason for concern.
Where Can I Get a 3D Mammogram on Long Island?
At PURE Mammography, we offer state-of-the-art 3D mammograms in a luxurious, spa-like setting. We specialize in putting you at ease and we pull out all the stops. That includes snacks and drinks while you wait, warm, plush robes to wear, and exam rooms decked out with audio and visual equipment that will transport you to a tropical oasis or garden during your exam. PURE is conveniently located inside Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, so you can stop in for your screening and do some shopping afterward. No appointment is ever necessary at PURE. Stop by during our extended hours or contact us today to find out more about our unique facility.