Digital mammography

Mammography is a very important procedure for women aged 50 and over in the detection of breast cancer. Although a norm in today’s medical practice, mammography has not been available for too long. Sometime in the 1950s, a man named Robert Egan created mammography screening by combining different techniques that were in use at the time. From there, it has developed into the leading technology for the detection of breast cancer and other breast diseases.

Mammograms require the breast to be compressed and even to avoid any false screenings. To do this the breast is held and compressed with a machine which holds a film plate and a camera unit as well as an x-ray unit. Mammograms use smaller doses of ionizing radiation than most other x-rays. Women over 50 are called for mammograms simply because the tissue in a younger woman is thicker and as a result it is harder to detect any malformations within the breast.

There are three different types of mammograms. Digital mammography is where the x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors which convert the x-rays into electrical signals. These detectors are similar to the detectors found in digital cameras. The next type of mammogram is computer-aided detection in which the computer is used to search for any abnormalities in film developed by either method of mammograms. The last type of mammogram is breast tomosynthesis. This version is similar to 3D imaging in the sense that the x-ray tube moves in an arc over the breast to create a more accurate image.

Generally, mammograms should be performed every two years for the best chances of breast cancer detection. Although most commonly associated with breast cancer detection, mammograms can detect other deformities or problems within the breast. Ultrasounds are used after mammograms to delve further into the findings of the initial examination and to determine the type of procedure required for the abnormality.

At the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex the cost of a mammogram is covered by the RAMQ. For more information please call 514-485-5013, or you can make an appointment by calling us at 514-485-5115 and we will gladly answer any questions or work with you to find the most convenient time in your day to schedule an appointment. We are open Monday to Friday between 8:30 AM 7:30 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.