mammogram machineMammography utilizes a specifically designed, low dose, x-ray machine to obtain images of the breast. Known as a “mammogram”, this procedure is used to assist in the detection of breast diseases such as tumors and cysts. There are two types of mammograms. “Screening mammograms”, which are recommended yearly for women 40 and older, are very important as many times they can detect abnormalities before they can be felt by the patient or physician. “Diagnostic mammograms” are performed to evaluate clinical findings such as breast lumps that have been found by the patient or physician.

To perform the procedure, a licensed mammography technologist will position your breast in the mammography unit on a specially designed platform. The technologist will then gradually compress the breast in order to spread out the breast tissue to allow for better visualization of all tissue structures and to minimize the amount of radiation dose required for a quality image. While this compression may be uncomfortable, it is a very important part of the procedure and will only last for a very short time. The technologist will then step behind a glass partition to make the exposure and it is during this time that it is important to hold very still. After all the exposures are completed, the technologist will check the images and may consult with the radiologist to determine if any repeat or additional views are needed.

Mammography Scan Preparation



Mammogram Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How long does the exam take?
Usually about 20 to 30 minutes, sometimes longer if it is a diagnostic mammogram.

How many pictures are taken?
Typically 2 views or pictures of each breast are obtained. However, if your breasts are large, you have implants, or if it is a diagnostic mammogram then more exposures may be required.

At certain times of the month my breasts are very tender. When should I schedule my mammogram?
The best time to schedule your mammogram is one week after your period. It is best not to schedule your mammogram for the week before the start of your period.

I had my last mammogram at a different facility. Do you need to see these old mammograms?
Yes. If at all possible please obtain your old mammograms and bring them with you. We will need to retain the films for our radiologists to compare with your current study. The prior films can be retained by our facility or returned depending on the previous facility’s guidelines.

Do I need a doctor’s order to have a mammogram?
Yes. Park City Imaging requires a doctor’s order so that we can insure you have a doctor to follow up with should an abnormality be found on your mammogram.

How do I get the results?
After the procedure is completed our radiologists will study the films and have a report dictated of the findings. The report will then be sent to your doctor who ordered the exam. This process usually takes from 24 to 48 hours unless prior films are not available. If prior films need to be attained via mail from your previous study, this process may take longer Please contact your doctor to discuss the results.

Isn’t it dangerous to be exposed to so many x-rays year after year?
While there is a very slight chance of developing cancer from excessive exposure to radiation, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs any risk. The amount of radiation from a mammogram is extremely low and mammography machines are checked annually by a medical physicist to insure that they meet federal radiation exposure guidelines.

Do mammograms see all breast abnormalities?

No. Mammograms cannot detect 100% of breast problems every time. Such conditions as dense breasts, implants, and breast surgery can make it very difficult or even impossible to obtain a clear view of all parts of the breast. Also, not all breast cancers are able to be seen on a mammogram. However, even with these limitations, mammography still remains the best screening tool available today for breast cancer and has saved many lives through early detection!