Mammography is a specialized x-ray study used to evaluate the breasts for disease. Mammograms are performed for both diagnostic and screening purposes. Diagnostic mammograms are performed to evaluate the breast(s) when an abnormality is detected by some other means. A common example would involve performing a mammogram when physical examination has detected a lump in the breast. Screening mammograms are performed in female patients without significant clinical findings as a means of early cancer detection. Screening mammograms are performed on a routine basis every two years, unless otherwise specified.

Regardless of why a mammogram is being performed, the exam is usually performed in a standard fashion:

  • The patient is asked to take off all upper body clothing. A hospital gown is put on.

  • The technologist will position the breast.

  • A plastic paddle ("compression" paddle) is positioned on the opposite side of the breast and applies firm pressure to the breast to flatten it and firmly hold it in place.

  • Two images of each breast are obtained in different positions.

Depending upon the clinical indications for the exam, extra views of one or both breasts may be required.

Mammography Equipment:

Mammography requires strict attention to technique and high quality equipment in good working condition in order to obtain diagnostically satisfactory images.

Quality assurance certification programs are maintained to help insure that mammography facilities meet acceptable standards of care.

The mammography facility at The Brantford General Hospital has been accredited by the Canadian Association of Radiologists.

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