What is Digital Breast Tomosynthesis?
Digital Breast Tomosynthesis is a new mammography technology which creates a three-dimensional image of the breast. It is also referred to as DBT, Tomosynthesis, or three-dimensional (3D) Mammography. Each of these terms refers to the same type of mammography.
Tomosynthesis offers exceptional image clarity and detail by imaging the breast in several ‘layers’. By looking at each layer separately, a potential cancer is less likely to be obstructed from view by overlapping breast tissue. This will result in fewer biopsies and additional tests as well as increased accuracy.
What about two-dimensional mammography?
Two-dimensional digital mammography or 2D Mammography remains the current standard of care. It is an excellent screening and detection exam. Instead of imaging the breast tissue in ‘layers’ as in 3D Mammography, a single two dimensional image is taken. Although this is an excellent study, it can result in the occasional need for additional imaging more often than with 3D Mammography.
How will my mammography experience be different if I choose Digital Breast Tomosynthesis?
You can expect the same convenient and efficient mammography experience with Tomosynthesis as you do now with 2D Mammography. Each exam takes essentially the same amount of time. The 3D Mammogram will be performed at the same time as your 2D Mammogram. Both exams involve compression of the breast. If you choose 3D Mammography, you will notice the camera move over the breast in an arc motion (without touching). This movement allows the machine to take multiple images through the breast.
Who should consider Digital Breast Tomosynthesis?
Digital Breast Tomosynthesis benefits all women, regardless of breast density, size, or age. All women over 40 should have an annual mammogram. If you would like your annual mammogram to include 3D Mammography, please request it when you schedule your appointment.
Will my insurance cover Digital Breast Tomosynthesis?
The majority of insurance providers now cover 3D, but it may vary. Please check with your provider to find out exactly what’s covered under your plan.
Want to learn more? Walk through the process and benefits of 3D Mammography with CRL Women’s Imaging Medical Director, Dr. Trudi Parker.