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3D Mammography

Women's Services | 3D MammographyWomen who undergo routine mammograms at OSF Saint Francis Centers for Breast Health have access to the latest screening and diagnostic technology.

OSF Saint Francis is the only breast center in Peoria to offer 3D mammography (also known as breast tomosynthesis) for breast cancer screening. 3D mammography helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue.

The Selenia® Dimensions® system offers exceptionally sharp breast images and the ground-breaking tomosynthesis platform designed to deliver superior screening and diagnostic performance.

Breast cancer screening with 3D mammography, when combined with a conventional 2D mammography results in higher cancer detection rate than conventional 2D mammography alone.1 Radiologists are reporting that tomosynthesis technology gives them increased confidence with a significant reduction in recall rates. 2

During a 3D mammogram, multiple, low-dose images of the breast are acquired at different angles. These images are then used to produce a series of one-millimeter thick slices that can be viewed as a 3D reconstruction of the breast.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Statistics indicate one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her lifetime. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s chance of survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent. 3

You have an important decision to make before scheduling your next mammogram

Do you prefer a 3D mammogram in addition to your standard mammogram?  Please see the additional considerations listed in the sidebar below.  It is important that you get the facts you need in order to make the most informed decision.  If you find that even one of four key components are true for you, then 3D may be the right option for you.  One of the key factors involves your breast density.  You can find out your breast density by asking your doctor.  Your density is noted on your previous mammography report.  Learn more facts about breast density in the frequently asked question below. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Women's Services | 3D Mammography - Additional ConsiderationsWhat is a 3D mammography breast exam?

3D mammography is a new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection that can be done in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram. This oftentimes is referred to as breast tomosynthesis.

During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over your breast, taking multiple breast images instead of one straight-down picture. Then, a computer produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible. They can scroll through images of your entire breast like pages of a book.

Why is there a need for 3D mammograms?

With conventional digital mammography, the radiologist is viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue in one flat image. Sometimes breast tissue can overlap, giving the illusion of normal breast tissue looking like an abnormal area.

By looking at the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, the radiologist can provide a more confident assessment. 1 In this way, 3D mammography may find cancers missed with conventional 2D mammography.3

How does breast density or other risk factors play a part?

Breasts with a large proportion of fibrous and glandular tissue on a mammogram are classified as "dense".  Regardless of size or shape, dense breasts have a substantially higher risk of developing breast cancer than women whose breast tissues are classified on a mammogram as "fatty".  A women's breat density can change throughout life due to age, hormone levels and menopause.  Dense breasts make it more difficult for doctors to spot cancer on mammograms.  Both cancer and dense breast tissue appear white on the images. The 3D images give radiologist a clearer view of this dense tissue.  

If you learn that you have dense breast tissue , or that you have a moderate to high risk for breast cancer based on other risk factors as discussed with your primary care physician, then a 3D mammogram may be the right option for you. 

What are the benefits?

The additional 3D images make it possible for a radiologist to gain a better understanding of your breast tissue during a screening1 or diagnostic mammogram and the confidence to reduce the need to call patients back for follow-up imaging. 2

What should I expect during the 3D mammography exam?

3D mammography complements standard 2D mammography 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 dose?

This new exam is a voluntary addition to a regular mammogram. It cannot be done by itself, but must be performed along with your regular 2D mammogram. Adding tomosynthesis increases the amount of radiation but is still well within the FDA regulated limit for mammography. If you have concerns about radiation exposure, please talk with your mammography technologist, radiologist or provider who can give you additional information.

Who can have a 3D mammography exam?

It is approved for all women who would be undergoing a standard mammogram, in both the screening and diagnostic settings. 1


Important:  when scheduling your mammogram, be sure to tell the scheduler that you want the 3D exam.  Call 309-683-5522 to schedule your 3D mammogram.

3D mammography is now offered at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, OSF Center for Health - Route 91, OSF Center for Health - Morton and Saint Clare in Washington.

1 Bernardi D, Ciatto S, Pellegrini M, et. al. Prospective study of breast tomosynthesis as a triage to assessment in screening. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Jan 22 [Epub ahead of print]. 2 The Hologic Selenia Dimensions clinical studies presented to the FDA as part of Hologic’s PMA submission that compared Hologic’s Selenia Dimensions combo-mode to Hologic 2D FFDM. 3 Skaane P, Gullien R, Eben EB, et. al. Reading time of FFDM and tomosynthesis in a population-based screening Program. Radio­logical Society of North America annual meeting. Chicago, Il, 2011