on June 13, 2013
What is Mammography?
Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the diagnosis of breast diseases in women. Baton Rouge General utilizes two recent enhancements to traditional mammography, including digital mammography and MRI computer-aided detection. 

Common Uses Of Mammography
Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.

Screening Mammogram
Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Beginning at age 40, women are recommended to have a screening mammography every year. Women who have had breast cancer and those who are at increased risk due to a genetic history of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and about the frequency of screening.

Diagnostic Mammogram
Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings—such as a breast lump or lumps—that have been found by the woman or her doctor. Diagnostic mammography may also be done after an abnormal screening mammogram in order to determine the cause of the area of concern on the screening exam.

Patient Preparation For A Mammogram
  • Before scheduling a mammogram, it is recommended that you discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your doctor. In addition, inform your doctor of any prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer. 
  • Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time for a mammogram is one week following your menstrual cycle.
  • Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder, perfume or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots. 
  • Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist performing the exam. 
  • If possible, obtain prior mammograms and make them available to the radiologist at the time of the current exam. 
  • For comfort purposes during your mammogram, we suggest “no caffeine” the morning of your exam. 
Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.