What is a 3D mammogram screening?
3D Mammography (aka Tomosynthesis) is a new tool designed to improve the early detection of breast cancer. Multiple images are taken as the mammogram machine sweeps in a short arc over the breast. Images are displayed as a series of thin slices that are viewed by the radiologist on a specialized computer workstation.
How is a 3D mammography performed?
Our machines can perform both standard (2D) and 3D mammography. The patient experience for each is very similar. The same compression is applied at two angles on each breast, but each 3D image acquisition will be 2-4 seconds longer as the machine sweeps in a short 15 degree arc over the breast.
Is 3D mammography right for me?
Ideally, this is a question best discussed with your healthcare provider. Many researchers state that there is not enough data to declare that 3D mammography is better than standard 2D mammography; however, emerging evidence suggests that the new clarity offered by 3D screening mammography may:
- Find invasive cancers earlier, especially in women with dense breast tissue.
- Reduce the number of call-backs for additional imaging (fewer false-positive results).
What else should I know about 3D mammography?
There is a small increase in radiation exposure. With the advanced technology on our machines, the difference at The Everett Clinic is about 20%. Compared to other radiology tests, the radiation exposure from any modern mammography machine is relatively low.
Not all insurance companies will pay the additional fee for a 3D Exam. For 3D mammograms done in 2016, you may be responsible for an out-of-pocket expense of up to $99.
How will I know if my insurance will cover the additional expense?
The only way to know for sure is to contact your insurance company by calling the customer service phone number on your insurance card. You will need to be prepared to give these codes:
- 77063 (This is the 3D add-on code)