To schedule a 3D mammogram at Winneshiek Medical Center, call the WMC Radiology Department at 563-387-3022.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that can help identify any abnormalities. There are two types of mammograms: screening and diagnostic.
A yearly screening mammogram is recommended beginning at age 40 or earlier if recommended by your doctor. A screening mammogram documents changes to your breast tissue over time and can alert the radiologist to abnormalities early in the disease process.
Diagnostic mammograms are performed after a woman or her doctor has found a lump in the breast tissue, or if a screening mammogram highlighted an area of concern.
Breast cancer can be treated most successfully when it is found early, many times before a lump can even be felt. Mammography is the most effective method of screening for breast cancer and can lead to early detection, which is the key to higher survival rates, better prognosis and lower treatment costs.
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As your most trusted partner for breast care, Winneshiek Medical Center is pleased to offer 3D mammography for patients.
3D mammography is a relatively new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool to improve the early detection of breast cancer. Low-dose images from different angles around the breast create the 3D picture. The detailed images allow for a better evaluation of the breast tissue, layer by layer. 3D mammography also can provide better images of dense breast tissue than conventional mammography, and is now covered by most insurance plans.
Patients benefit from softer, warmer mammograms through the use of special breast cushions during each mammogram, as they have come to expect from their experience at Winneshiek Medical Center.
Winneshiek Medical Center provides a full-time, on-site Mayo Clinic Health System radiologist who specializes in breast health and breast disease diagnosis. Our mammography suite is staffed with skilled, compassionate and certified mammography technologists, including technologists trained in mammography for women with breast implants.
Patients who need further testing after a mammogram screening can often have same day diagnostic workup appointments at WMC. Winneshiek Medical Center offers biopsy options and surgical options, including stereotactic breast biopsies, ultrasound-guided breast biopsies, and sentinel node mapping – all in a private, comfortable environment, conveniently available at the medical center in Decorah.
Mammography screenings are available at WMC for any patient, regardless of provider, and patients do not need a doctor’s referral to schedule an appointment. WMC mammography offers daily appointments, Monday through Friday.
Winneshiek Medical Center is committed to the fight against breast cancer. In offering 3D mammography and breast cushions, we provide the latest in imaging quality and comfort technology.
Winneshiek Medical Center thanks the WMC Foundation and our committed donors for supporting advanced technology like 3D mammography for our patients.
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What to expect during your mammogram
Before your exam, a radiologic technologist will ask you to change into a gown and remove any jewelry. The technologist will guide you to the mammography unit and position each breast, one at a time, on a special platform within the unit. When you are ready, the technologist will lower a compression paddle, which will compress your breast for a short time. Images will be taken from a top-to-bottom view and an angled side view. The process will be repeated for the other breast.
Breast compression is necessary in order to:
- Even out the breast thickness so all of the tissue can be visualized.
- Spread out the tissue so that small abnormalities are less likely to be covered by overlying breast tissue.
- Allow the use of a lower X-ray dose since a thinner amount of breast tissue is being imaged.
- Hold the breast still in order to minimize blurring of the image caused by motion.
- Increase the image clarity.
Special note about mammograms: Do not use deodorant, powder or perfume in your underarm or breast area. These products may contain a metallic base that can look like an early breast cancer in the images. Winneshiek Medical Center supplies products for you to use following your mammogram.
Although it is non-invasive, a mammogram may cause some discomfort, especially if you have sensitive breasts. Try to schedule your mammogram when you are not menstruating to reduce breast sensitivity. The exam takes about 30 minutes to perform. A radiologist will interpret the mammogram and your doctor will receive the results of the images. A letter with the results will also be mailed to you.
Why does the compression have to be so tight?
- Tight compression is necessary to separate the layers of breast tissue and reduce the amount of radiation you receive.
Do I still need a mammogram past the age of 80?
- You and your doctor should discuss your need for a mammogram after age 80.
How often should I have a mammogram?
- Yearly, after age 40.
Doesn’t compression cause breast cancer?
- No, compression improves detail in the image and decreases your exposure to radiation.
Why do I need extra pictures taken?
- Additional images may be needed to distinguish normal from abnormal tissue.
To schedule a mammogram at Winneshiek Medical Center, call the WMC Radiology Department at 563-387-3022.
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