Mammography is specialized medical imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to see inside the breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, aids in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.
Digital mammography, also called full-field digital mammography, is a mammography system in which the x-ray film is replaced by electronics that convert x-rays into mammographic pictures of the breast. These systems are similar to those found in digital cameras and their efficiency enables better pictures with a lower radiation dose.
Computer-aided detection (CAD) systems search digitized mammographic images for abnormal areas of density, mass or calcification that may include the presence of cancer. The CAD system highlights these areas on the images, alerting the radiologist to carefully assess this area.
Breast tomosynthesis, also called three-dimensional (3-D) mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis, is an advanced form of breast imaging where multiple images of the breast from different angles are captured and reconstructed into a three-dimensional image set.
Three recent advances in mammography include digital mammography, computer-aided detection and breast tom synthesis.
What are the common uses of this procedure?
Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms.
Mammography plays a central role in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available.
Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings – such as a breast lump or nipple discharge that have been found by the woman or her doctor. Diagnostic mammography may also be done after an abnormal screening mammogram in order to evaluate the area of concern on the screening exam.
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