Your doctor has referred you for a mammogram examination. This information will inform you about breast imaging and help answer your questions. The mammography staff at our facility are available to answer any additional questions you may have, so please do not hesitate to ask.
What is a diagnostic mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray examination of the breast. Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings – such as a breast lump/s – that have been found by the patient or doctor.
Special care is taken during x-ray examinations to use the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best images for evaluation.
Although no radiation reaches the uterus during a mammogram, we prefer not to do mammograms on women who might be pregnant. Please notify the mammographer if there is any chance that you could be pregnant so that we can determine the best way to evaluate your situation.
Preparing for your mammogram
- Please contact us immedately on 06 759 4317 if you are pregnant.
- On the day of the examination, do not use deodorants, antiperspirants, powders or ointments as these can show up on the images and be confusing when being reported.
- Since you will need to undress from the waist up, a two piece outfit (top and bottom) is recommended for ease.
Arriving at Taranaki Radiology
- Generally examinations run to a tight schedule, so please be on time. Though we do not anticipate any delays in your examination, we do have to accommodate emergencies as they arise.
- Please report to Taranaki Radiology reception on arrival.
- The receptionist will check your details for accuracy and you will be directed to the waiting area.
What will you experience during your mammogram?
You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and will be given a gown. You will be escorted into the mammography room.
The mammographer who performs your examination is a highly trained individual who is certified to perform mammography. The mammographer will explain the procedure.
Your breast will be placed on a special platform and gradually compressed with a paddle (made of clear plastic). You will feel pressure on your breast as it is squeezed by the paddle. Some women with sensitive breasts may experience discomfort. Be sure to inform the mammographer if pain occurs as compression is increased. If discomfort is significant, less compression will be used.
Breast compression is necessary in order to:
- Even out the breast thickness so that all of the tissue can be seen.
- Spread out the tissue so that any small abnormalities won’t be obscured by overlying breast tissue.
- Allow the use of a lower x-ray dose since a thinner amount of breast tissue is being imaged.
- Hold the breast still in order to eliminate blurring of the image caused by motion.
- Increase the sharpness of the picture.
You will be asked to change positions slightly between images. Both breasts will be imaged. This procedure usually takes approximately 15-30 minutes.
What can you expect after your mammogram?
- When the examination is complete you will be asked to wait until the mammographer has processed the images and has determined that the images are of high enough quality for the radiologist to read.
- Once the Radiographer has confirmed the images are of good quality, you will be able to dress and leave the facility.
- A Radiologist will examine your images and write a report of the findings. This report will be sent to the Specialist who referred you for the mammogram. A copy will also be sent to your GP, unless you request us not to.
- We are unable to give you any information related to your results but your doctor will share the results of the examination with you.