Diagnostic mammography is an x-ray exam of the breasts that is performed in order to evaluate a breast complaint or abnormality detected by physical exam or routine screening. Diagnostic mammography is different from screening mammography in that additional views of the breast are usually taken, as opposed to two views typically taken with screening mammography. Thus, diagnostic mammography is usually more time-consuming than screening mammography. In addition, we will review your diagnostic images while you wait and you will be given our opinion before leaving the office. Of course, your doctor will receive our report within a few days and you will receive a letter with our opinion and recommendations.
The goal of diagnostic mammography is to pinpoint the exact size, location, and nature of a breast abnormality. In most cases, diagnostic mammography will help show that the area of concern is actually normal. If there is an abnormality that we believe is highly likely (>97%) to be benign (non-cancerous), we may recommend that you return at a later date for a follow-up exam, typically in six months. However, if the abnormality seen is suspicious, additional breast imaging or a biopsy will be recommended. Biopsy is the only definitive way to determine whether a woman has breast cancer.