Mammography is a type of x-ray procedure performed specifically for early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.
X-ray images are taken to evaluate and detect abnormalities in the breast tissue and glands, as a follow up to the detection of lumps, nipple discharge, pain or swelling. Patients should inform their doctor if they are pregnant, breast feeding, or have had breast implants.
In addition to most routine x-ray preparations, patients are asked to refrain from using perfumes, deodorant, or powders as they may interfere with the x-ray. Patients usually stand during the procedure. A Technologist positions the patient in front of the mammography machine and places one breast on top of an x-ray receptor. Compression is applied firmly on top of the breast to flatten out the breast tissue which helps to obtain a more detailed image. The procedure takes approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Patients are asked to wait while the x-ray images are being processed in case additional images need to be taken. If abnormalities of the breast are detected, additional testing in the form of a biopsy may be required.