The Breast Imaging Center exemplifies St. Joe's commitment to compassion and excellence. We've put the best professionals, state-of-the-art screening, and diagnostic equipment in a suite that features comfort, privacy, and compassionate care. In short, we've done the impossible: we've made getting mammograms a pleasant experience. Nothing should keep women from this very important health screening. The American College of Radiology encourages all women age 40 and older to have an annual mammogram. Early detection is vital for effective cancer treatment.
Preparation for a Mammogram
A mammogram can be scheduled by you or your physician. The best time to schedule a mammogram is one week following your period. Always inform your doctor or mammography technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
- Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium deposits. Should you wear deodorant on the day of your exam, we provide wet wipes to remove it and spray deodorant for after your exam.
- Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist performing the exam.
- During scheduling of your exam, please notify the staff of any prior mammograms performed outside of the St. Joseph Breast Imaging Center in order for them to be sent and available for comparison review at the time of your current exam.
- Ask when your results will be available and do not assume the results are normal if you do not hear from your doctor or the mammography facility.
What to Expect During a Mammogram
A mammogram takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes and requires that you undress above the waist. The technologist will give you a gown to wear. Breast compression may cause slight discomfort for a brief time during each exposure, but it should not be painful. If discomfort is something that worries you, please discuss this concern with the technologist before the mammogram begins or indicate to the technologist during the exam if you begin to experience discomfort. Feel free to ask our professional staff questions at any time before, during or after your exam.
The use of 3D projections allows the radiologist to review images of the breast without overlapping of breast tissue. This enhances the quality of the interpretation of the mammogram by providing multiple slices to review. This is similar to analyzing each individual slice of bread in a loaf. This process enhances the ability to target abnormal tissue and reduces the frequency of call back requests for additional mammographic views when 3D imaging is used.
At the Breast Imaging Center, we use Full Field Digital Mammography. Unlike film-based mammography, digital mammograms produce images that appear on the technologist’s monitor in a matter of seconds.
With digital mammography, the radiologist reviews electronic images of the breast, using high-resolution monitors. The physician can adjust the brightness, change contrast, and zoom in for close-ups of specific areas of interest. Being able to manipulate images is one of the main benefits of digital technology. Digital images can also be easily stored and copied without any loss of information, then transmitted electronically, eliminating dependence on only one set of “original” films.
Our technologists are not only there to complete your mammogram, they will help make the experience for you as comfortable as possible. Two views will be taken of each breast. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, alert the technologist before the exam so she can take appropriate precautions. Total exam time is approximately 15 minutes.
If you are experiencing problems with your breast or have discovered a lump, please contact your healthcare provider. They may order a diagnostic mammogram. In this case, the mammogram is focused on a specific concern of your breast. At St. Joseph Breast Imaging Center, a radiologist will be on hand to make sure the appropriate images are obtained, and they are available to perform additional procedures if necessary at this time to completely evaluate the area in question. A radiologist will be on hand to make sure the appropriate images are obtained and are available to perform additional procedures if necessary at that time to completely evaluate the area in question.
You can expect to be at the center longer than a screening mammogram due to the time necessary for the radiologist to review the images of your exam while you are at the facility. The total time for the exam and review of the diagnostic mammogram is approximately 30 minutes. The radiologist’s interpretation of your diagnostic mammogram will be discussed with you prior to you leaving the facility. If additional diagnostic procedures to the mammogram (such as a breast ultrasound) are requested, it could take up to 30 minutes per exam to complete.
If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, please alert the technologist before or during the exam so she can take the necessary precautions.
Mobile Mammography Program
Our Mobile Mammography program consists of a specially equipped motor coach, staffed by radiologic technologists who specialize in mammography from the St. Joseph Breast Imaging Center. The unit is furnished with FDA and Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA)—approved digital equipment.