Frequently Asked Questions

What is tomosynthesis (3D mammography)?

Tomosynthesis is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic mammography tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D mammogram, or as a standalone exam. During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images. Then a computer produces a 3D image of the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible. The radiologists can scroll through images of the entire breast like pages of a book.

What is the difference between 3D mammography and traditional 2D mammography?

With traditional digital mammography (2D mammography), the radiologist is viewing all the breast tissue in one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion that normal breast tissue looks like an abnormal area, which sometimes may result in a false-positive test result.

By looking at the breast tissue in one millimeter slices as with 3D mammography, the radiologist is able to look more closely at each individual layer of the breast tissue across multiple images, and identify masses or abnormalities more accurately.

What should I expect during the 3D mammography exam?

3D mammography is performed using the same type of equipment and technique as with traditional 2D mammography.

Is the radiation dose higher?

The dose of radiation is slightly higher for a 3D mammogram than with a 2D digital mammogram, but the dose is well below the FDA limit for mammography, and about the same as a traditional film mammogram.
Will my insurance cover the exam?

Coverage of a 3D exam varies depending on each individual carrier. If you have questions regarding provider coverage please call 732-962-7230 and ask to speak to someone about tomo.

Who is a candidate for 3D mammography?

Every woman’s breasts are different and therefore may require different levels or types of diagnostic exams, however 3D mammography may be beneficial for women with dense, hard-to-image breasts and/or those with a history of breast cancer. If you are a woman age 40 and older, and are preparing to make your annual mammogram appointment, talk to your doctor about your options for early detection, and to see if tomosynthesis may be right for you.

Care Locations

  • Bayshore Medical Center
    727 North Beers Street, Holmdel, NJ 07733

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