Digital mammography is different from conventional mammography in how the image of the breast is viewed and, more importantly, manipulated. The radiologist can view and manipulate the images on high-resolution computer monitors that enhance visualization of the structures within the breast tissue. They also can adjust brightness and contrast, and zoom in on specific areas to help detect small calcifications, masses and other changes that may be signs of early cancer.
Digital mammography feels identical to conventional screening from a patient's perspective, though women may notice shorter exam times and a reduction in call-backs to obtain additional images. At times, digital mammography is partnered with diagnostic breast ultrasound imaging to give the radiologist another look at tissue densities. Talk with your health care provider about a screening schedule appropriate for you.
Digital images are easily stored and transferred electronically, eliminating the dependency on one set of original films, which can be misfiled or lost in transit.
3D Mammography (Breast Tomosynthesis)
Another newer breast-imaging test called 3-D mammography (breast tomosynthesis) may provide an improved way of seeing through dense breast tissue. A 3-D mammogram combines multiple low-dose mammogram images to create a 3-D image of the breast.
Not all treatments, tests and services are available at all Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Check with your preferred location in advance.