General Wellness

Ask Sofia: What is a 3-D Mammogram and Do I Need One?

Evolving mammogram guidelines have created some confusion and questions for women, including “how often do I need a mammogram?” The latest question we have been hearing from patients “What is a 3-D mammogram and do I need one?” is a good one.

3-D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis or tomo, takes images of the breasts from multiple angles, which are then used to recreate a 3-D picture of the breast; this option may increase detection of cancer and also decrease the possibility of a false positive. In addition, it may be more useful for women with dense breast tissue. While the 3-D test does take a few seconds longer than 2-D mammography, it uses less radiation and most women do not notice a difference between the two options.

“We are fortunate to have more options and more technological advancements when it comes to screening for breast cancer,” said Dr. Deb Krahl. “We do recommend 3-D mammograms when possible, simply because they provide a more detailed picture and can increase early detection of breast cancer, which can also increase survival rates.”

Most insurance companies now cover the 3-D option, although it is worth checking with your insurance company prior to your next mammogram to verify your particular coverage. There are more than 4,000 certified mammography imaging facilities that offered 3-D mammograms and the number is growing, providing easier access for women interested in this technology.

“Naturally, women have questions when they are asked whether they want to have a 2-D or 3-D mammogram, and it’s always helpful to discuss these topics with your doctor,” Dr. Krahl added. “We can help you assess your options based on your insurance coverage, discuss your personal history and anything else related to breast health.”

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