Diagnostic Imaging

If your screening mammogram suggests that you need further testing or you are found to have a breast problem by you or your provider, we have a full range of diagnostic tests to help find you an answer as soon as possible.

We will perform a thorough breast evaluation, which may include:

  • Additional imaging with mammography and/or breast ultrasound. Breast ultrasound exams are performed either by radiologist physicians or registered sonographers who specialize in breast ultrasound.
  • Same-day minimally invasive biopsy—a sampling procedure performed through a skin nick to diagnose the problem as needed. This happens in fewer than 10 percent of women who present with a breast problem. Breast biopsy and localization procedures are offered using stereotactic, ultrasound, or MRI guidance and are performed by physicians dedicated to breast imaging and procedures.
  • Other interventional procedures. This may include image-guided lymph node biopsies (sentinel lymphadenectomy) or lymphoscintigraphy, a nuclear-medicine exam that is used to locate sentinel lymph nodes.
  • A discussion about which type of screening or diagnostic test is best for you

More information about diagnostic imaging

To provide you with helpful health information related to our diagnostic imaging tests, please refer to the following articles on our Healthwise® Health Encyclopedia website:

  • Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to produce high-resolution images of internal structures. Breast ultrasound helps the breast radiologist diagnose a lump or abnormality seen on a mammogram. It is used for non-invasive image guidance in procedures like cyst aspirations or breast needle biopsies.
  • Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is the most sensitive breast imaging test. It is used in screening exams for women who have a genetic predisposition or strong family history of breast cancer, for characterizing a newly diagnosed breast cancer, for follow-up monitoring after chemotherapy or surgery, and to evaluate the status of a breast implant. The MRI uses radio waves in a magnetic field to generate images. An MRI exam is a radiation-free and painless procedure that lasts between 30 and 90 minutes.
  • Minimally invasive biopsy is often performed when an abnormality has been found by clinical examination, mammography, ultrasound, or MRI. Unlike the surgical biopsies of the past, modern minimally invasive breast biopsies are typically performed using imaging technology to accurately guide a probe through a small skin nick to the abnormality for sampling. The procedures are safe, effective and do not scar or deform the breast. Biopsies by 3-D mammography are provided at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. This is a more advanced, quicker and more comfortable version of stereotactic core biopsy.