Patient & Visitor Information


Cancer Center

See All Cancers We Treat

Need a Second Opinion?

If you would like to schedule an appointment for a second opinion, call 434.924.9333.


Need a Second Opinion?

If you would like to schedule an appointment for a second opinion, call 434.924.9333.


If you need to speak with someone about your appointment, call 434.924.9333.

Construction Update


Make an Appointment

If you would like to make an appointment or get a second opinion, call 434.924.9333.

Google Search Cancer
Home > Patient Care > Screening Programs > Breast Cancer Screening > Tomosynthesis 3D Mammography

Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography)

Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography)

About Tomosynthesis

Early detection is the best defense you have against breast cancer. Tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, creates 3D breast scans that help doctors detect breast cancer earlier than other breast screening methods.

How Breast Tomosynthesis Works

Traditional Mammograms

UVA is the only hospital in the region that offers 3D mammograms.

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 high risk for breast cancer

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.

Make An Appointment

Call 434.924.9333

Tomosynthesis in the News

UVA's Dr. Carrie Rochman explains what Tomosynthesis means for women and breast health.

Listen here.

Mammogram Comparison

 2D vs. 3D Mammography

Tomosynthesis breast exams can identify cancers not detected by traditional mammograms.





Left, overlapping tissue on a traditional mammogram shows no sign of cancer. On the right, cancer is clearly seen with the tomosynthesis exam.