smiling woman and husband

Digital Mammograms


When it comes to breast health, early detection is the best prevention. Women should have regular mammograms beginning at age 40, or sooner if recommended by their healthcare provider.

St. Luke's uses state-of-the-art technology, including digital mammography and 3D mammography to screen for and diagnose breast health issues. Digital mammography is the newest technology available for early breast cancer detection and has many benefits, including higher detection rates in some patients, fewer recalls and lower doses of radiation.

What is a 3D mammography (digital breast tomosynthesis) exam?

3D mammography is much like your annual mammogram but far more accurate in earlier breast cancer detection. 3D works by capturing multiple slices (images) of your breast from several angles. Then, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices. Our radiologists can review the data, one slice at a time, like turning pages in a book, making it easier for them to see if there is anything to be concerned about.

What are the benefits of 3D mammography?

With conventional digital mammography, the radiologist is viewing all of the overlapped tissues of the breast in one flat 2D image. This can, in some instances, give the illusion of an abnormality even though the breast is normal, and can also mask an actual tumor due to superimposed breast structures.
By looking at the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, the radiologist can provide a more accurate assessment. 3D mammography provides a 25 percent improvement in overall cancer detection rates, finding 40 percent more invasive cancers than conventional mammography. It also means there is less chance of you being called back for a "second look" mammogram because of overlapped normal structures. The "false positive" rates are reduced by up to 40 percent.

What should I expect during the 3D mammography exam?

3D mammography complements the standard 2D exam and is performed at the same time, with the same system. There is no additional compression required and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view.

Is there more radiation?

The FDA has found the combination of 3D and standard mammography to be safe and effective for patient use.

Who can have a 3D mammography exam?

It is approved for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram, for both screening and diagnostic exams.

What if I choose not to undergo a 3D mammogram?

A state of the art standard 2D mammogram will be performed.

Will my insurance cover 3D mammography?

Because 3D mammography is fairly new, insurance companies do not cover the additional charge for 3D mammography which is typically $40-$60.

When should you get a mammogram?

The American Cancer society recommends: Annual mammograms for women starting at age 40.

Mammograms in Men

Although breast cancer is rare in men, it is possible, along with other breast abnormalities and conditions. With years of experience in male mammography, St. Luke's provides preventive breast screenings and mammograms for men to help diagnose cancer, gynecomastia and other men's breast problems.

St. Luke's: Siouxland's Breast Health Leader

St. Luke's Imaging & Breast Screening Services at Sunnybrook Medical Plaza is one of the most comfortable and convenient places to have your annual mammogram. Administered in as little as 15 minutes, your exam will be given by a certified mammography technologist specially trained in breast imaging.

After your mammogram, St. Luke's uses computer-aided detection (CAD) technology to review your mammogram images. CAD technology detects breast abnormalities on the mammogram images and marks them. Recent studies have shown the use of a CAD with screening mammography can result in earlier detection of up to 23% of cancers. All exams are then reviewed by our board-certified radiologists and results are returned in a timely fashion.

Breast MRI

Most mammograms turn out completely normal. However, if a suspicious lump or abnormality is detected, St. Luke's also uses ultrasound and advanced breast MRI technology to help in diagnosis.

Mammotome Technology

St. Luke's Mammotome is used to perform biopsies using ultrasound guidance, allowing for removal of a breast abnormality without the need for open surgery. Using mammotome, a physician can guide the system into a suspicious area of the breast to gently collect the abnormal tissue for a biopsy, meaning:

  • a less invasive procedure with only a small incision
  • less scarring
  • faster recovery time so you can return to normal activities the same day
  • Learn more about mammotome technology from mammotone.com