Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography)
How Breast Tomosynthesis Works
Traditional mammography is two-dimensional (2D), or flat. Breast tissue is made up of pockets of dense tissue surrounded by fat. On a mammogram, the tissues overlap and this can mimic or even hide breast cancer.
Tomosynthesis / 3D Mammograms
With three-dimensional (3D) mammography, a machine connected to a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue. This reduces the need for you to return for extra images and increases the accuracy of breast cancer detection.
What To Expect With Tomosynthesis
Tomosynthesis is similar to a traditional mammogram.
- During the exam, the X-ray arm of the machine sweeps over the breast and takes multiple images in seconds.
- The procedure takes about as long as a traditional mammogram.
- At UVA, you'll get a traditional 2D mammogram and a 3D mammogram, which gives doctors more data than they'd get with just one mammogram.
- You may experience some discomfort or pain, similar to what you'd feel with a traditional mammogram.
What Kind of Radiation Exposure is There?
Tomosynthesis radiation is twice that of a standard mammogram, but it's still considered very safe. It's well below the dose limit set by the Food and Drug Administration.
Who Should Get a Tomosynthesis Exam?
- Women 40 and over who have moderately dense or extremely dense breast tissue (as reported on their mammogram)
- Women who are at
Women with fatty breast tissue may not benefit from Tomosynthesis.
Want a Tomosynthesis Exam?
Call UVA Breast Care at 434.243.4704 to schedule an exam.
After the appointment, we will forward the results to your primary care doctor or gynecologist, so we will need you to provide their contact information upon arrival.
Need to make an appointment and don't have a doctor? You can still schedule the exam and we'll help you find a doctor.
Most insurance providers don't yet cover 3D mammograms. There's an $80 self-pay fee for 3D mammography, as well as any costs associated with your regular mammogram.