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What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is a special type of low-dose x-ray used to create detailed images of the breast. A mammogram can show changes in the breast before a woman or her physician can feel them. It is the most effective tool for detecting breast cancer early.

Breast tissue is quite dense and a mammography unit is designed to increase the quality of the pictures without increasing the amount of radiation. The unit achieves this with a paddle that compresses the breast against a platform to produce even images at various angles while only exposing breast tissue to the X-ray. The images are then produced on film using the conventional x-ray method, or created digitally and stored on a computer.

It should be noted that all Mammographers at Radiology and MRI of Bethlehem are female with board certification in mammography.

What to Expect During Your Mammogram

A mammogram usually takes 30 minutes. Before beginning, you will be asked to change from the waist up and be given a cape to wear.

During the procedure, the technologist lifts each breast and places it on a platform that holds the x-ray film. The platform can be raised or lowered to match your height.

Once the technologist steps behind the screen, your breast is gradually pressed against the platform by a specially designed clear plastic plate. Some pressure is needed for a few seconds to make sure the x-rays show as much of the breast as possible. You may be required to alter your position for various parts of the exam.

Compression can be uncomfortable and for some women with sensitive breasts, discomfort may be experienced. If you experience discomfort inform your technologist who may be able reduce the compression.

Routine exams consist of 2 films being taken of each breast. If you are experiencing any breast complaints, additional images will be taken as required.

Your study will be read by the Radiologist and your results given to you before you leave (with rare exceptions, i.e. waiting for old films for comparison).

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Preparing for Your Visit

General Instructions:
Patients should plan to arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment.

Please bring a form of photo identification, any prescriptions from your physician, referrals, insurance information, and any medical records that have been requested. Before scheduling your appointment please contact your healthcare insurance carrier for preauthorization if needed.

Below are some general guidelines to help patients prepare for their exam. Many procedures require patients to follow specific instructions beforehand. Those instructions are given to each patient and confirmed via phone by one of our staff members before their appointment.

Always follow the instructions provided specifically for you.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your procedure and how to prepare for it, please call our office at 610-691-8931.

Preparing for Your Exam:
Abstain from using powders or deodorants around the breasts and underarms.

Limit caffeine intake if breasts become tender after having caffeine.

Please obtain any prior mammogram films you have had taken. If you are unable to obtain your films, please bring the name of the facility, telephone number and fax number to your appointment so we are able to request your prior studies.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your mammogram, please feel free to call our office and discuss your concerns with our technologist..

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