I recently had a mammogram with 3D Technology. Is this better? Or, are there more risks of extra radiation?

Expert Answers

mybreastcanceranswers (Nurse (Verified) ) - 11 / 16 / 2011

1) 3D mammograms are also called tomosynthesis and they are superior to 2D (regular) mammograms. This type of imaging is a special kind of mammogram that produces a 3D image of the breast. The image is obtained by using several low dose x-rays taken at different angles. The breast is compressed similar to the way it is for a mammogram except the x-ray tube moves in a circular arc around the breast; the imaging is completed in less than 10 seconds.
The reasons tomosynthesis is superior to 2D mammograms are:
Less breast compression (less discomfort)
Shorter length of time for test to be completed (10 seconds vs. several minutes)
More pictures are obtained in multiple different angles of the breast (more accurate)
A 3D image makes it easier to find an abnormality than traditional mammogram.

2) There are some discrepancies in the difference in amount of radiation exposure between standard mammogram versus 3D mammogram.
According to the American College of Radiology there is about twice the amount of radiation in a 3D mammogram but “it improved the accuracy with which radiologists detected cancers, decreasing the number of women recalled for a diagnostic workup.”

A study published in Radiographics, peer-reviewed journal, lists the radiation dose of tomosynthesis at 145 mrad.

Just an fyi, the National Cancer Institute lists an average two-view mammogram as delivering 200-400mrad.

Everything I read and studied listed the doses for 3D mammogram as being under 300mrad (see resources below).






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