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Frequently Asked Questions About Digital Mammograms

What is the difference between screening mammography and diagnostic mammography?

Screening mammography is used as a preventative measure for women who have no symptoms of breast disease. It usually involves two views of each breast.

Diagnostic mammography involves obtaining additional views of the breast. It is used when an abnormality has been found during screening, or in women who may be experiencing nipple discharge, breast pain or skin irritation, or who may have detected a breast lump.

What is the difference between screen-film mammography and digital mammography?

In screen-film mammography, x-ray beams are captured on a film cassette. The film is then developed and read on a high-intensity light box. In digital mammography, x-ray beams are captured on specially designed digital detectors that convert them into electronic signals that are sent to a computer. The radiologist can then review the digital mammogram on a high resolution monitor.

What are the benefits of digital mammography?

Unlike film-based mammography, digital mammograms produce images that appear on the technologist’s monitor in a matter of seconds. The radiologist can adjust the brightness, change contrast, and zoom in for close-ups of specific areas of interest. The ability to manipulate images is one of the main benefits of digital technology. A medical study by the American College of Radiology scientifically proved that digital mammograms are 15-28% more effective at detecting breast tumors as compared to film images. Additionally, digital mammography has been proven highly successful in women pre to perimenopausal with dense breast tissue. These groups are more likely to have fast-growing aggressive tumors, and with digital mammography, our radiologists can discover these tumors earlier.

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