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To schedule your annual mammogram, call 240-566-3400.

What is Mammography?

Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system for examination of the breasts. The images of the breasts can be viewed on film at a view box or as soft copy on a digital mammography work station. Most medical experts agree that successful treatment of breast cancer often is linked to early diagnosis. Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) adds that women who have had breast cancer and those who are at increased risk due to a genetic history of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and about the frequency of screening.

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray used to examine the breasts to detect lumps before they can be felt. The breast is placed on a film and gently pressed. This compression, while briefly uncomfortable, greatly improves the quality of the image.

Mammography at the hospital, Frederick Health Crestwood, and Frederick Health Rose Hill is performed in a discrete area of the imaging department that provides for patient privacy.

All Frederick Health Imaging facilities are now offering a Softer Mammogram, which uses a soft foam cushion called a MammoPad to make the experience more comfortable.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

Mammography is used to aid in the diagnosis of breast diseases in women. Screening mammography can assist your physician in the detection of disease even if you have no complaints or symptoms. Initial mammographic images themselves are not always enough to determine the existence of a benign or malignant disease with certainty. If a finding or spot seems suspicious, your radiologist may recommend further diagnostic studies.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

Before scheduling a mammogram, discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your doctor. In addition, inform your doctor of any prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer.

Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time is one week following your period. Always inform your doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.

We recommend that you:

  • Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder, or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the x-ray film as calcium spots.
  • Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist performing the exam.
  • Obtain prior mammograms and make them available to the radiologist at the time of the current exam.
  • Ask when your results will be available; do not assume the results are normal if you do not hear from your doctor or the mammography facility.

Before the examination, you will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing above the waist and you will be given a gown or loose-fitting material that opens in the front.

How does the procedure work?

Before the Exam

Please do not wear deodorant or antiperspirant. We can provide that for you after your exam is completed.

During the Exam

  • You will be given a gown to change into in a private dressing room.
  • The technologist will obtain your personal breast health and history from you.
  • A pad will be placed on the machine to minimize your discomfort in order to obtain the best quality images for the radiologist. Your breast tissue will need to be compressed for a short time and we routinely need two views of each breast for the initial exam.
  • We offer the Genius 3D Digital Mammography exam that provides you with the latest technology in breast imaging. This breast tomosynthesis allows greater accuracy and earlier detection than the 2D Mammography exam. Frederick Health also utilizes C view software, which allows the radiation dose to stay comparable to a traditional 2D Mammogram. Please contact your insurance carrier to verify 3D Mammography benefits prior to your exam.

How is the procedure performed?

​​During mammography, a specially qualified radiologic technologist will position you to image your breast. The breast is first placed on a special platform and compressed with a paddle.​

Breast compression is necessary in order to:

  • even out the breast thickness so that all of the tissue can be visualized;
  • spread out the tissue so that small abnormalities won't be obscured by overlying breast tissue;
  • allow the use of a lower x-ray dose since a thinner amount of breast tissue is being imaged;
  • hold the breast still in order to eliminate blurring of the image caused by motion;
  • reduce x-ray scatter to increase sharpness of picture.

The technologist will go behind a glass shield while making the x-ray exposure, which will send a beam of x-rays through the breast to the film behind the plate.

You will be asked to change positions slightly between images. The routine views are a top-to-bottom view and a side view. The process is repeated for the other breast. During a 3D mammogram the arm will sweep over the breast to obtain "sliced" views.

The examination process should take about half an hour. When the mammography is completed you will be asked to wait until the radiologist examines the images to determine if more are needed.

What will I experience during the procedure?

You will feel pressure on the breast as it is squeezed by the breast paddle. Some women with sensitive breasts may experience discomfort. If this is the case, schedule the procedure when your breasts are least tender. The technologist will apply compression in gradations. Be sure to inform the technologist if pain occurs as compression is increased.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

Our goal is to provide the women of Frederick County with the most thorough, accurate and prompt evaluation possible.

  • An onsite board-certified radiologist will review your images to determine if additional mammogram images or an ultrasound is needed.
  • Your exam will be interpreted by an onsite board certified radiologist. You will receive a lay letter and your provider will be sent the results in 2-3 business days.
  • A certified breast imaging navigator will facilitate the process and discuss any breast intervention that is recommended by the radiologist.
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