Breast Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography)

Breast tomosynthesis, sometimes called a 3D mammogram, represents the latest advance in breast cancer screening. This type of mammogram builds on state-of-the-art digital breast imaging already in use at Martha Jefferson Hospital. 

In a 3D exam, many very low dose X-ray exposures are taken during a brief compression of the breast. The X-ray source moves slightly over the breast during this time. The resulting dynamic pictures provide radiologists new perspective on breast tissues that normally overlap on a traditional, two-dimensional mammogram. 

Several published studies have shown that tomosynthesis imaging can offer both better invasive breast cancer detection and fewer “false alarms” when compared to a traditional mammogram technique used alone.* Early cancer detection from mammography saves lives.

Who is 3D screening for?

Any women may potentially benefit from the additional imaging of breast tomosynthesis. Studies involving women with all breast density types have shown the added information from a 3D exam can improve cancer detection and decrease the chance of recall from screening. Women at increased risk of breast cancer, those with dense breast tissue, or those who have who have had multiple screening "false alarms” may particularly benefit. 

Charges For 3D Mammography

This new technology combines 2D and 3D mammography. Most insurance companies cover the 2D mammography portion of this exam.

Medicare and some, but not all, insurance providers cover the full cost of 3D Mammography. Some insurance providers cover most of the cost but leave a portion for the patient to pay. To be sure about your individual situation, please call your mammography site.

*Radiology. 2013; 267(1): 47-56. Lancet Oncology. 2013; 14(7): 583-9. JAMA. 2014; 311(24): 2499-507.

Sentara in the Community