3D Mammography/Tomosynthesis

Spectrum Medical Imaging offers the new state of the art breast 3D Mammography/tomosynthesis in our rooms at Randwick (Silver St – Women’s Imaging Centre)- Level 1, 13-15 Silver St, Randwick and Liverpool rooms – 171 Bigge Street, Liverpool.

What is breast tomosynthesis?

Breast tomosynthesis (often referred to as 3D mammography) is a type of X-ray examination of the breast. It has already been shown to be beneficial in the detection of small breast cancers compared with conventional mammography, particularly in women with dense breast tissue, which can mask abnormal areas in a conventional mammogram. Tomosynthesis is widely used in private diagnostic clinics where patients are often investigated for breast symptoms or if they have an increased risk of breast cancer.(InsideRadiology 2016)

Why would my doctor refer me to have breast tomosynthesis?

Mammography (screening) currently remains the first type of investigation used when there are no symptoms related to one or both breasts.

Mammography (diagnostic) is carried out when a person, their doctor or another health professional discovers unusual signs or symptoms in one or both breasts, such as a lump, tenderness, nipple discharge or abnormal skin.
It is used to confirm whether any of these changes are likely to be benign (non-cancerous) and no treatment is needed, or whether these changes indicate possible breast cancer and further tests and/or treatment will be required.

It is best for high risk patients, such as women with a strong family history of breast cancer;
those showing signs and symptoms, such as a lump or nipple discharge; and/or
women with dense breasts (common in women under the age of 50 years).(InsideRadiology 2016)

How do I prepare for breast tomosynthesis?

The required patient preparation is similar to that for conventional mammography. If you are premenopausal it might be best to wait one week after the start of your period, as your breasts might not be as tender at the time of examination and the breast compression is better tolerated.

If you have breast implants you might need a longer appointment time. The presence of implants might require more images to be taken.

You are advised not to wear talcum powder, lotion or deodorant on the day of the examination, as these substances can appear on the images. You should wear a two-piece outfit, as you will be asked to undress from the waist up.

It is very important to bring any previous mammograms with you so that a comparison with your current examination can be made.(InsideRadiology 2016)

What happens during breast tomosynthesis?

The breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) examination is often carried out at the same time and using the same equipment as a conventional mammogram, by a female radiographer.

-Breast tissue is examined layer by layer – or in thin slices – typically 1 mm thick
-The x-ray arm sweeps in an arc over the breast, taking a series of images at various angles in just seconds.
– Very low X-ray energy is used ensuring radiation exposure is within recommended guidelines.

The radiographer will work with you to ensure the procedure is as comfortable as possible. Compression of the breast is necessary, as the images might be blurry without compression and it also helps to reduce the amount of radiation required.(InsideRadiology 2016)

How long does breast tomosynthesis take?

Breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) is often carried out at the same time as a conventional diagnostic mammogram. A patient is generally allocated a 30-minute time slot. The actual procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes, and the breast is compressed for between 4–30 seconds per image. At Spectrum Medical Imaging, if you book in for a 3D Mammogram, it is recommended you also book in for a breast ultrasound and the ultrasound will be bulk billed with a Mammogram.(InsideRadiology 2016)

What are the risks of breast tomosyntheis?

Like all X-rays, having a breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) or conventional mammogram exposes you to some radiation, but only a small amount. Scientists estimate that there is less than a 1 in 25,000 risk of a mammogram causing breast cancer.

Such a small risk is far outweighed by the benefit of early detection of breast cancer, significantly reducing the death rate from the disease.The risk of developing cancer from a mammogram is no greater than developing cancer from exposure to the natural background radiation accumulated from the normal environment in one year.(InsideRadiology 2016)

What are the benefits of a breast tomosynthesis?

The advantage of breast tomosynthesis is that it allows the radiologist to examine breast tissue in thin (1mm) slices .This reduces the problem caused by tissue overlap seen with conventional 2D mammography. http://www.womensimaging.sydney

Breast tomosynthesis has been shown in numerous clinical studies to increase the detection of early breast cancer. It has also been shown to decrease the number of unnecessary recalls for further imaging and possibly biopsy, therefore reducing unnecessary anxiety. 3D breast tomosynthesis(InsideRadiology 2016)

Who does the breast tomosynthesis?

A radiographer is a technician who has been specially trained in mammography and breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography), and will carry out the examination. A radiologist is a specialist doctor trained in reading X-rays. Radiologists reading breast tomosynthesis and mammogram examinations are specially trained in breast imaging. The radiologist will provide a written report outlining your results to your referring doctor.(InsideRadiology 2016)

Where is the breast tomosynthesis done?

Spectrum Medical Imaging offers 3D Mammography/tomosynthesis in our women’s centre in Randwick (Silver St)rooms – Level 1, 13-15 Silver St, Randwick and Liverpool rooms – 171 Bigge Street, Liverpool.

Our women’s centre in Randwick (Silver St) is equipped with the latest Genius C View technology which means radiation dose is halved as a 2D image is reconstructed using the 3D image. Therefore traditional 2D Mammography is no longer needed. For more info, please visit http://genius3d.com.au/what-is-genius-3d

Study results in JAMA conclude Hologic’s Genius™ 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™ exam outperforms conventional mammography for women with dense and non-dense breasts


We are equipped to perform all breast biopsies including ultrasound guided breast biopsies, stereotactic breast biopsies and MRI guided breast biopsies.

We also offer breast MRI. http://www.mri.sydney

InsideRadiology, 2016, Breast Core Biopsy, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, Sydney, viewed 20 December 2016, Breast Tomosynthesis

To Find out more on the latest 3D Tomosynthesis technology please visit: http://www.breasttomo.com.au

or watch the videos below…

Breast Tomosynthesis is proven superior to 2D mammography in 4 large screening studies…