3D Mammography is a revolutionary tool in the fight against breast cancer. Approved by the FDA in 2011, 3D gives our radiologists the ability to view inside the breast layer by layer, thus allowing us to see your breast image structure and detail much more clearly and precisely - than a conventional 2D mammogram.  

As a comparison - think of the scans like a loaf of bread. The images from a standard mammogram are like that of an unsliced loaf allowing a radiologist to see only what can be viewed from the outside. Now, with 3D, the resulting images are like a sliced loaf where each individual slice can be examined allowing a more detailed, more accurate exam.

Thus, 3D technology allows our radiologist to view a mammogram in a way never before possible – allowing for easier and earlier detection of breast cancer – often at its earliest stage - when it is most treatable.

In creating a new model for mammography, one of the key areas we wished to improve was the number of false-positive readings that require patients to return for additional imaging and test procedures. ‘False positives’ typically result from limitations in imaging modalities and can obstruct the radiologist’s view of a patient’s breasts and create the appearance of a breast abnormality. A 3D mammogram increases screening accuracy, and decreases the number of women who are unnecessarily called back due to false positive readings.

3D Mammograms offer the following advantages over conventional standard mammography:

  • Exceptional images - Easier and earlier detection of breast cancer over standard mammography alone
  • Reduced false positives and false alarms – significantly reduces  patient call backs for additional images
  • Less anxiety and often a sigh of relief

With the power and promise of 3D, we can now see breast cancer screening in a whole new distinctive view allowing us to be surer…sooner.

2Skaane, Per, et. al. “Reading Time of FFDM and Tomosynthesis in a Population-based Screening Program.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, Chicago, Illinois, November 29, 2011.
3 Philpotts, Liane, et. al. “Initial Experience With Digital Breast Tomosynthesis in Screening Mammography.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Columbia, May 3, 2012.
4 Bernardi, D, et. al. “Prospective Study of Breast Tomosynthesis as a Triage to Assessment in Screening.” Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 133(1) (Epub 2012): 267-71

A female mammography-certified technologist will perform your exam. The technologist will ask you several questions relating to your medical history, and determine any breast issues you may be having. During the exam, your breast will be compressed to spread out the breast tissue for better clarity and visualization. While it may be uncomfortable, the compression lasts only a few seconds.  At the time of your screening mammogram exam, if you have not opted for the additional 3D mammogram, you may opt to wait up to 10 minutes after your exam to receive your preliminary results, or if you prefer we can call you with your results later that day.

 

No additional provider referral is needed if you are getting a 2D screening mammogram as referred by your physician.

Our women’s imaging specialists physicians strongly believe, and many clinical studies support  that this technology is beneficial to all of our mammography patients – whether your breast tissue is fatty or dense, whether you have a history of breast cancer or not, and whether you are at high risk or not. Although insurance companies do not currently cover this service, we encourage every woman to opt for the advantages of 3D mammography. You’re breasts imaged in greater detail, providing us more information and more confidence in that information -  so that you can be surer…sooner

 

At this time insurance providers typically do not cover the 3D portion of the mammogram. However your insurance provider and Medicare does cover the entire cost - there is no deductible or co-pay required - for the 2D or screening mammogram portion of the exam and the 2D portion of the exam will be billed to your insurance as usual.

The cost of the 3D Mammogram examis $50, and is payable which is payable at the time of your appointment check in. This is an eligible expense through your HSA (Health Spending Account) or your FSA (Flexible Spending Account).

 

  1. Please bring a disc or films from any prior mammograms, if done at a center or hospital facility other than AAR. It is extremely important for the radiologist to have your prior films for comparison, as it enhances the doctor’s ability to detect a subtle change or small abnormality on your current mammogram. If you prefer AAR to request these on your behalf, please fill out our medical records release form (if new to the area, please do so 1 month prior to your appointment, as it can take up to 3 weeks to obtain image discs from out of state).

  2. Please do not wear talcum powder, deodorant, lotion or perfume under your arms or on your breasts on the day of your appointment. These substances can cause artifacts on your mammogram making the images harder to interpret. Deodorant will be available to you after your exam.

  3. Please wear comfortable two-piece clothing so that you only have to remove your top and bra for the examination.

  4. To help minimize discomfort during your exam, schedule your mammogram during the two weeks following your menstrual cycle (when breasts are less tender).

  5. Please bring any pertinent history to your appointment: prior surgeries, hormone use, family or personal history of breast cancer.

 

The 3D mammogram portion of your exam takes our radiologist additional time to evaluate your images. Your referring physician will receive a copy of your report within 24 hours. We also offer you the  convenience of our patient portal system allowing you to access your report online within about 72 hours of your exam appointment. Lastly, a  letter will be mailed to the address we have on file within 7 days of your exam with your results as well. Your physician may also contact you with your exam results.

 

 

For Frequently Asked Questions about 3D mammography, click here

 

A mammogram is a low dose x-ray of the breast. For women age 40 and older, annual mammograms are a vital tool for screening and early detection of breast cancer. Mammograms can detect abnormalities in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them, enabling early medical intervention and significantly increasing a patient’s chance of survival. According to National Cancer Data Base statistics, if breast cancer is detected and treated in its earliest stage, a patient’s five-year survival rate is 93%. Knowledge is power – talk with your physician or healthcare provider about your breast health and personal risk factors of developing breast cancer and allow viewers to go back to AAR site with arrow back and as we woman tend to put ourselves last on our to-do list – make a commitment to put your health care first with annual 2D screening and 3D mammograms.

Accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), AAR’s mammography services are led by a team of board-certified, women’s imaging specialist physicians, and highly trained, compassionate technologists with advanced certification in mammography - performing over 15,000 exams annually.

At AAR you’ll find the most advanced digital mammography technology with computer aided detection (CAD), which helps our radiologist identify areas that may be of interest in the breast.  We are also pleased to offer, the th the addition of the power of 3D mammography, we have more to offer in our arsenal to fight breast cancer. Simply put, better technology means more accurate screenings and earlier detection.

 

Screening mammogram

This exam is recommended annually for women who do not have breast symptoms.The following guidelines reflect the recommendations of the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Society of Breast Surgeons, the Society of Breast Imagers, the American Cancer Society and the American medical Association.

  • The average women age 40 and older should have both annual mammograms, annual clinical breast exams and also conduct monthly self exams
  • Women with high risk factors   should begin at age 30, and not before the age of 25

Knowledge is power  – talk with your physician or healthcare provider about your breast health and personal risk factors of developing breast cancer

Diagnostic mammogram

 This exam is for women with signs or symptoms of breast disease such as a worrisome breast lump, skin changes or nipple discharge, or for women with breast implants or a history of breast cancer. It is also used to further evaluate areas that may be of interest detected on screening mammography. The diagnostic mammogram will include additional views or special techniques to magnify a suspicious area or to eliminate shadows produced by overlapping layers of normal breast tissue. If you have a lump, your doctor or the radiologist may ask you to have a sonogram (ultrasound study). A diagnostic mammogram may take up to 45 minutes depending on how many views are needed. The diagnostic test may suggest that further evaluation may be needed to tell whether or not the lesion is cancer.

 

Breast density is a way to describe the different types of tissue that make up a women’s breast. The breast is made up of glandular tissue, fibrous connective tissue and fatty tissue. Dense breast tissue is comprised of less fat and more glandular tissue. On a mammogram, dense tissue appears white and cancerous tumors appear white making it very difficult to ‘see’ the tumor. Approximately 40% of women have dense breast tissue and is more often found in younger women. As a woman ages, her breasts usually becomes more fatty than dense. 3D mammography in conjunction with a standard 2D mammography exam - has been clinically studied and found to be a valuable screening tool for women with dense breasts.

Click here to learn more information about dense breast as Virginia law now requires reporting of breast tissue density along with findings on mammography to our patients.

We use the Hologic Selenia® Dimensions® system, and it is the first commercially available mammography system to offer 3D digital breast tomosynthesis. Additionally, the Selenia Dimensions system features an advanced ergonomic design to increase your comfort during the exam. A female technologist will perform your exam. During the exam, your breast will be compressed to spread out the breast tissue for better clarity and visualization. While it may be uncomfortable, the compression lasts only a few seconds.3D Mammography is a supplement to conventional digital mammography screening exams. It is performed at the same time as the screening exam, and is not a separate exam. For the screening mammogram, two x-ray images are taken of each breast.

 

  1. If you had prior mammograms done at any hospital or imaging facility other than AAR, please bring a CD of your images  or films. It is extremely important for the radiologist to have your prior films for comparison, as it enhances the doctor’s ability to detect a subtle change or small abnormality on your current mammogram. If you prefer AAR to request these on your behalf, please fill out our medical records release form click here (if new to the area, please make your request one month prior to your appointment, as it can take up to 3 weeks to obtain images from out of state).
  2. Please do not wear talcum powder, deodorant, lotion or perfume under your arms or on your breasts on the day of your appointment. These substances can cause artifacts on your mammogram making the images harder to interpret. Deodorant will be available to you after your exam.
  3. Please wear comfortable two-piece clothing so that you only have to remove your top and bra for the examination.
  4. To help minimize discomfort during your exam, schedule your mammogram during the two weeks following your menstrual cycle (when breasts are less tender).
  5. Please bring any pertinent history to your appointment: prior surgeries, hormone use, family or personal history of breast cancer.

For Frequently Asked Questions about breast health and mammography, Click Here

All mammography patients

Your referring physician will receive a copy of your report within 24 hours. Additionally, we offer you the convenience of our patient portal system allowing you to access your report online within about 72 hours of your exam appointment.  Lastly, a letter will be mailed to your address we have on file within 7 days of your exam with your results as well. Your physician may also contact you with your exam results.

Please call our scheduling team at 703.824.3260 to schedule a 2D screening mammogram, a 3D mammogram exam as a supplement to the 2D exam or a diagnostic mammogram. Also you may click here to request to schedule an appointment online. You will need a health care provider’s referral for a screening mammogram. No referral is needed for a 3D breast tomosynthesis exam when scheduled as a supplement to the patient’s screening mammogram exam.

If you are experiencing symptoms or concerns with your breasts, please see your doctor or health care provider immediately, and he or she can then refer you to a diagnostic mammogram.