3-D Mammography Update

Imaging Center at Mark Center in Alexandria offers improved breast cancer screening tool

3-D mammography, also called breast tomosynthesis, is a new technology available at our Imaging Center at Mark Center that allows doctors to see breast tissue more clearly, helping to reduce the number of women who are called back for diagnostic mammograms.

Digital mammography, which uses a specially designed digital camera and a computer to produce an image that is displayed on a high-resolution computer monitor, is the established breast cancer screening technology. But it only produces a two-dimensional picture of the breast. Since the breast is composed of pockets of dense tissue surrounded by fat, when X-rayed, it creates an image that looks like a smoky haze. The overlapping tissue in the image makes it difficult to see tiny “spots,” called microcalcifications, and other subtle signs of early cancer. In some cases, the radiologist may ask a patient to come back for a follow-up exam to rule out any suspicious area.

Breast tomosynthesis uses high-powered computing to convert digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices,” building what is essentially a three-dimensional mammogram. Using breast synthesis and digital mammography together for screening has been shown to reduce callbacks.

Contact Us

Call 571.423.5400 or visit inova.org/radiology to schedule your appointment at the Inova Imaging Center at Mark Center.  We also offer same-day results.