While digital mammography is still one of the most advanced technologies available today, it is only a 2-dimensional picture of the breast. The breast is a 3-dimensional object composed of different structures, such as blood vessels, milk ducts, fat, and ligaments. 3D mammography (also known as breast tomosynthesis) is a new technology that uses computer technology to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices”– building what is essentially a “3-dimensional mammogram” that allows doctors to examine your breast tissue one layer at a time.
Supplementing your regular 2D screening mammogram with 3D mammography requires additional exposure to radiation however a very low dose of radiation is used for both 3D and 2D images, so your total dose, although higher than a 2D mammogram is still below the FDA breast imaging guidelines. Using 2D mammography together with 3D mammography for screening exams has been shown to increase sensitivity in detecting cancer by up to 40% and to significantly reduce the need to return for additional views by 20-40%.
Currently 3D Mammography is only covered by some insurance companies. However, if your insurance does not cover this exam we offer it to screening patients for an out of pocket cost.
If you have any questions or to learn more about this advanced imaging technique please call one of our Breast Imaging locations in Sleepy Hollow, Croton or Dobbs Ferry.