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Crawford County Memorial Hospital utilizes a 3D digital mammography system that is also capable of producing high resolution 2D images. The system is among the safest and most advanced screening tools available to identify cancers of the breast area early, when they are most treatable. This 3D mammography system at CCMH uses the lowest amounts of radiation needed to get high resolution diagnostic images.

2D or 3D: You get to choose

Basic information on 2D and 3D mammography

In 2D digital mammography, X-ray beams are captured on a specially designed digital camera and a computer to produce an image. Unlike film-based mammography, digital mammograms produce images that appear on the technologist's monitor in a matter of seconds. The images are then sent electronically to the radiologist to review.

In 3D digital mammography (tomosynthesis mammography), high-powered computing is used to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or "slices," building what is essentially a "3-dimensional mammogram." This allows doctors to examine breast tissue detail one slice at a time to help find breast cancer at its earliest stages, when it is most treatable.

3D digital mammography complements standard 2D mammography and is performed at the same time using the same system. No additional compression is required and the process only takes a few seconds longer for each view. All of the images are then sent electronically to a radiologist to view.

Difference between 2D and 3D mammography

With 2D digital mammography, the radiologist is viewing all of the complexities of breast tissue in a one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion of normal breast tissue looking like an abnormal area.

3D mammography allows radiologists to view the breast tissue more clearly via one millimeter slices, so that they can provide a more confident assessment. The benefits to the patient include:

  1. 3D mammography is more likely to find cancers missed with conventional 2D mammography.
  2. It reduces overall time spent at the doctor as there is less chance that a patient will be called back for a "second look.”

Who benefits the most from a 3D mammogram?

Younger women with dense breasts could potentially benefit the most. That's because radiologists have a harder time picking out cancers in dense breasts, because both cancers and dense tissue appear as white on a mammogram. So far, however, studies haven't proven that 3-D mammograms find significantly more cancers than traditional mammograms.

What does a 3D mammogram cost?

Because these are new tests, insurance companies do not cover them and may require patients to pay out of pocket for the additional imaging. CCMH asks that if you decide to have the 3D mammogram that you pay $50.00 up front before the exam.