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Imaging and Radiology


From the mobile mammography services offered through our Mobile Mammography Van to providing the revolutionary 3D digital tomosynthesis mammography, our breast care experts are here to help. We offer an attentive, experienced staff, coupled with leading-edge technology and integrated care, to deliver high-quality outcomes for you.

Screening Mammogram

What it is: A screening mammogram is for women who have no symptoms of breast cancer.

In this test, an X-ray of the breast is taken from top to bottom and side to side. Radiologists look at the mammograms to determine if further attention is necessary. At TriHealth we follow the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging’s guidelines to begin annual screening at age 40 for women at average risk for breast cancer.

How to Prepare for Mammogram

  • Do not wear deodorant or powder under the arms the day of the procedure.
  • When possible, obtain old exams and make them available to the facility where your current exam is being performed.
  • Describe any current symptoms to the technologist performing the exam: describe any pain, lumps, discharge, or skin changes.
  • Ask when your results will be available and how they will be communicated to you.

What if the screening mammogram finds something unusual?

Between 5 to 12% of these screening mammograms identify something that may need further attention, including:

  • Physical examination of the breast
  • Further mammography
  • Ultrasound
  • Needle biopsy

When further evaluation is completed, most women whose screening mammogram located a potential abnormality will be found to have nothing wrong.

Diagnostic Mammogram

What it is: A mammogram done for women whose screening mammograms detected some kind of abnormality.Often, magnification views can give a better picture of the area under question.

What if the diagnostic mammogram finds something unusual?

It depends on what was found. Some women may need additional images from mammography. Others may need additional mammograms and ultrasound.

3D Mammogram (Tomosynthesis)

TriHealth is proud to have brought the first 3D digital tomosynthesis to the public in Greater Cincinnati. This revolutionary mammographic screening generates a series of thin, high-resolution images that allow doctors to view your breast one layer at a time. Using a digital mammography machine with an additional arm that sweeps in an arc over the breast, tomosynthesis creates images that are essentially one-millimeter “slices” of the breast, revealing information that can be hidden in standard digital mammograms. There are many benefits to this state-of-the-art technology, including: 

  • Improved views of breast tissue
  • Increased cancer detection by up to 40%
  • Fewer (15%) call-back rates for further tests
  • Less anxiety for patients

How Accurate are Mammograms?

Mammograms are accurate in 85 to 90% of the cases. They help detect abnormal tissue before it is large enough to be felt.

Still, it is possible that you could feel a lump that might not be visible on a mammogram. Tell your doctor anything you feel while examining your breasts!

How Does an Abnormality Appear on a Mammogram?

Something that needs further attention might be called a mass, lump, density, distortion or nodule. This might appear as:

  • A mass with a smooth, well-defined border. This is often benign. Ultrasound can determine what is inside the mass. If it is fluid, the mass is called a cyst.
  • A mass with an irregular border or a starburst appearance. This may be cancerous. The physician will probably recommend a biopsy.
  • Small amounts of calcium, called microcalcifications, most of which are noncancerous. The physician can classify them as benign, suspicious, or indeterminate. She or he may recommend additional mammogram studies, possibly followed by a biopsy.

What if They Think They See Something on my Mammogram?

This is a common question. The majority of abnormal findings from a mammogram are found either to be normal breast tissue or benign (noncancerous) tissue.

Breast Ultrasound

What it is: High-frequency sound waves (inaudible to humans) are transmitted through the breast. Echoes produce pictures of the breast and can zero in on a small area of concern. These ultrasound images can help specialists identify an array of conditions and diseases, including breast cancer.

Your provider may use ultrasound by itself or with other diagnostic tests.

An ultrasound can help determine:

  • Whether a lump in the breast is a solid mass or a cyst (sac containing fluid). If it is a cyst, a needle is often used to aspirate – remove— fluid. If the fluid that is removed is clear and the mass vanishes, your physician may decide that no further testing is needed.
  • The specific location of a tumor that is known to exist but cannot be felt. Knowing the specific location, the physician can guide the needle to that precise spot during a breast biopsy.

Other Breast Procedures

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the breast creates detailed pictures of the breast and the tissues around it. MRIs can add helpful information to mammograms but are only recommended in certain instances.
  • Breast biopsy is a procedure that takes a small amount of tissue from an area of the breast with abnormal-looking tissue identified by a physical exam, mammogram or other means. The tissue sample is then investigated to see whether cancer cells are present.
  • Breast cyst aspiration is a procedure performed under ultrasound guidance in which the radiologist uses a small needed to remove fluid from a cyst. These are typically performed when a breast cyst is causing pain or tenderness for the patient.