Preparing for your exam:
· Schedule the test for a time when your breasts are least likely to be tender. If you haven’t gone through menopause, that’s usually during the week after your menstrual period. Your breasts are most likely to be tender the week before and the week during your period.
· Bring your prior mammogram images. If this is you first visit to Envision Diagnostic Center for your mammogram, gather any prior mammograms and bring them with you to your appointment so that the radiologist can compare them with your new images. We are happy to help you in obtaining your prior images.
· Don’t use deodorant before your mammogram. Avoid using deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts. Metallic particles in powders and deodorants could be visible on your mammogram and cause confusion.
· Consider an over-the-counter pain medication if you find that having a mammogram is uncomfortable. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), about an hour before your mammogram might ease the discomfort of the test.
What to expect during your exam:
During the test
When you arrive at Envision Diagnostic Center, you’re given a gown and asked to remove neck jewelry and clothing from the waist up. To make this easier, wear a two-piece outfit that day.
For the procedure itself, you stand in front of an X-ray machine specially designed for mammography. The technologist places one of your breasts on a platform and raises or lowers the platform to match your height. The technologist helps you position your head, arms and torso to allow an unobstructed view of your breast.
Your breast is gradually pressed against the platform by a clear plastic plate. Pressure is applied for a few seconds to spread out the breast tissue. The pressure isn’t harmful, but you may find it uncomfortable or even painful. If you have too much discomfort, tell the technologist.
Your breast must be compressed to even out its thickness and permit the X-rays to penetrate the breast tissue. The pressure also holds your breast still to decrease blurring from movement and minimizes the dose of radiation needed. During the brief X-ray exposure, you’ll be asked to stand still and hold your breath.
After your exam:
After images are made of both your breasts, you may be asked to wait while the technologist checks the quality of the images. If the views are inadequate for technical reasons, you may have to repeat part of the test. The entire procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes. Afterward, you may dress and resume normal activity.
Bring your prior mammogram images. If we are a new facility for your mammogram, gather any prior mammograms and bring them with you to your appointment so that the radiologist can compare them with your new images. We are happy to assist you in obtaining your prior images.