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Imaging Services

3D Mammography

Tomosynthesis (3D) digital mammography

Tomosynthesis technology is also referred to as “3D mammography” because it generates a three-dimensional view of the breast. Like a CT scan (a machine that resembles a giant donut) rotates around the body, digital tomosynthesis uses an X-ray tube to arc around a patient’s breast, taking multiple images from many different angles.

Because the digital tomosynthesis creates a layer-by-layer look of the breast tissue, breast cancer that is “hiding” among non-fatty tissue can be more easily detected. Additionally, it has been proven that patients are less frequently called back to the office for additional testing, meaning fewer procedures and fewer false positives.

For those concerned with radiation exposure, it is important to know that mammograms require very small doses of radiation, and tomosynthesis does take a few seconds longer than traditional mammography. However, nearly all experts agree that the benefits of the screening far outweigh any potential harm due to radiation exposure. Still, women should speak with their healthcare provider for any concerns regarding radiation exposure, especially if pregnant.

Digital tomosynthesis is an option for patients at the Mount Nittany Health Breast Care Center. Patients are encouraged to ask their healthcare insurance provider if tomosynthesis is covered.