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Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian

Mammography

Exam Forms

All forms should be completed in advance of your appointment. Please follow the links below to access the Mammography Form required for your upcoming appointment.

WCM Survey Icon (3) Mammography Form 

Exam Preparation

Please notify our staff when scheduling and checking in for your appointment if any of the following apply to you:

  • If you have breast implants
  • If there is any possibility that you are pregnant or if you are currently breastfeeding.
  • If you need an interpreter to assist you with your native language.

Arrive at the time of your appointment. Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian is limiting the number of patients in our offices at any one time. Patients who arrive early may be asked to return at the time they are scheduled.

Unless needed for physical assistance or to translate for you, visitors are not allowed to accompany patients at any of our practices. For pediatric patients, one parent may accompany a child. 

What should I wear to my appointment?

Wearing the right clothing may eliminate the need for you to change into a gown prior to your exam.

  • Wear something that is comfortable and easy to remove.
  • Refrain from using deodorant, talcum powder, lotion or oils on the day of your visit, since these substances can interfere with the images.

What should I bring with me on the day of my appointment?

It is important that you bring the following with you on the day of your appointment:

  • If you have had previous mammograms at other facilities, we ask that you bring the films to your appointment. Our radiologists will compare the prior studies to your new mammogram.
  • A copy of the prescription for your examination if it was given to you.
  • Your insurance information.
  • A completed exam form if you did not already email it to us.

What can I expect on the day of my appointment?

All of our imaging practices have procedures in place to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. These include:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfection protocols for all equipment and surfaces in all common and clinical areas and between each appointment. 
  • Hand sanitizer and appropriate disinfecting wipes in each clinical area. 
  • Managing patient schedules and waiting rooms to ensure appropriate social distancing.  
  • Universal mask policy for patients, visitors and staff. 

All patients and visitors are clinically screened upon arrival including a temperature check.

Patient verification is an important part of your safety and you will be asked to verify your identification and your exam several times during your appointment. Our check-in staff will review your completed registration forms with you.

How is mammography performed?

  • You will be positioned at the mammography unit, seated, standing, or lying down.
  • The breast will be positioned between two plates of the mammography unit, and pressure applied to compress the tissue (this may produce temporary discomfort). Breast compression is necessary in order to obtain the best image with the least amount of radiation possible. If you have had a mammogram in the past and have experienced discomfort, taking an over-the-counter pain medication, prior to your exam, might help to alleviate the discomfort. Always notify the technologist if you experience any pain during an examination.
  • You will be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds while the x-rays are taken.
  • The technologist will step behind a protective window and the image will be taken.
  • Each breast may be x-rayed at least two times from above and from the side positions to produce the films for the radiologist to review.
  • Upon completion, the technologist will escort you outside of the scanning room where you will retrieve your personal belongings and proceed to check-out.
Our staff is available to address any questions or concerns that you might have before, during, or after your appointment. Please call (212) 746-6000 if you wish to speak with us.
For more information about breast imaging, please click on the link below to review our Breast Imaging FAQ.

Breast Imaging FAQ 

 

Health Library

Mammography

What is mammography (mammogram)?

Mammography is an x-ray examination of the breast. It is used to detect and diagnose breast disease in women who either have breast problems such as a lump, pain, or nipple discharge, as well as for women who have no breast complaints. The procedure allows detection of breast cancers, benign tumors, and cysts before they can be detected by palpation (touch).

Mammography cannot prove that an abnormal area is cancer, but if it raises a significant suspicion of cancer, tissue will be removed for a biopsy. Tissue may be removed by needle or open surgical biopsy and examined under a microscope to determine if it is cancer.

The recent development of digital mammography technology shows promise for improved breast imaging, in particular, for women less than 50 years of age, women with dense breast tissue, or women who are premenopausal or perimenopausal. Digital mammography provides electronic images of the breasts that can be enhanced by computer technology, stored on computers, and even transmitted electronically in situations where remote access to the mammogram is required. The procedure for a digital mammography is basically performed the same way as a standard mammogram. 3D mammography also known as tomosynthesis, is a promising new technology providing three dimensional (3D) images of the breast, which further assists the radiologists in detecting cancer

With computer-aided detection (CAD) systems, a digitized mammographic image from a conventional film mammogram or a digitally acquired mammogram is analyzed for masses, calcifications, or areas of abnormal density that may indicate the presence of cancer. The images are highlighted by the CAD system for further analysis by the radiologist.

Anatomy of the breasts:

Each breast has 15 to 20 sections, called lobes, which are arranged like the petals of a daisy. Each lobe has many smaller lobules, which end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can produce milk.

The lobes, lobules, and bulbs are all linked by thin tubes called ducts. These ducts lead to the nipple in the center of a dark area of skin called the areola. Fat fills the spaces between lobules and ducts.

There are no muscles in the breast, but muscles lie under each breast and cover the ribs. Each breast also contains blood vessels and vessels that carry lymph. The lymph vessels lead to small bean-shaped organs called lymph nodes, clusters of which are found under the arm, above the collarbone, and in the chest, as well as in many other parts of the body.

What are the different types of mammograms?

A screening mammogram is an x-ray of the breast used to detect breast changes in women who have no signs of breast cancer. It usually involves two x-rays of each breast. Using a mammogram, it is possible to detect a tumor that cannot be felt.

A diagnostic mammogram is an x-ray of the breast used to diagnose unusual breast changes, such as a lump, pain, nipple thickening or discharge, or a change in breast size or shape.

A diagnostic mammogram is also used to evaluate abnormalities detected on a screening mammogram. It is a basic medical tool and is appropriate in the work-up of breast changes, regardless of a woman's age.

Mammography has been used for about 30 years, and in the past 15 years technical advancements have greatly improved both the technique and results. Today, specialized equipment, used only for breast x-rays, produce studies that are high in quality but low in radiation dose.

Mammography may be used either for screening or to make a diagnosis. Women older than 25 years should undergo diagnostic mammography if they have symptoms such as a palpable lump, breast skin thickening or indentation, nipple discharge or retraction, erosive sore of the nipple, or breast pain.

A mammogram may be used to evaluate breast pain when physical examination and history are not conclusive. Women with breasts that are dense, "lumpy," and/or very large may be screened with mammography, as physical examination may be difficult to perform. Women who are at high risk for breast cancer or with a history of breast cancer may be routinely screened with mammography.

Who should get a screening mammogram?

The American Cancer Society recommends the following screening guidelines for early detection of cancer in women who have no symptoms:

  • Annual mammograms starting at age 40. The age which screening should be stopped is considered on an individual basis according to potential risks and benefits of screening based on a woman's individual overall health status.
  • A clinical breast exam should be part of a regularly scheduled health examination about every three years in a woman's twenties and thirties and every year for a woman in her forties and older.
  • Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast change right away to their health care provider. Breast self-exam is an option for women beginning in their twenties.
  • Women who are at an increased risk (family history, genetic tendency, past breast cancer) should talk with their physicians about the benefits and limitations of starting mammography screening earlier, having additional tests (breast ultrasound, MRI), or having more frequent exams.

In addition, the following guidelines by age are recommended:

  • National Cancer Institute Guideline for Screening Mammography: Women in their 40s and older should have a screening mammogram on a regular basis, every one to two years.
  • American Cancer Society Guideline for Screening Mammography: Women 40 years of age and older should have a screening mammogram every year.
Consult your physician regarding the screening guidelines that are appropriate for you.

 

Weill Cornell Imaging at NewYork-Presbyterian

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