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What to Expect in Your First Mammogram

Having your first mammogram can be stressful. It’s something that many women try to put off, but screening mammography is one of the best things a woman can do to take care of herself. Dr. Susan Kennedy, breast imaging specialist at Wake Radiology, explains why getting a mammogram is really not as scary your mind will lead you to believe. And, offers some tips to make it even easier.

What to Expect During a Mammogram

Annual mammograms detect cancer early when it is most treatable. In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly a third since 1990.

At Wake Radiology, your entire mammogram appointment takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Our technologist will be with you during every step and are prepared to answer all of your questions. On the day of your appointment, a few easy tips can make your appointment go smoothly:

  • Avoid wearing lotion, powder, deodorant or perfume as these products can cause spots on the X-ray. Wake Radiology provides deodorant to all of our patients after their procedure.
  • We recommend you wear a two piece outfit not a dress, as you will have to wear a gown and undress from the waist up Wake Radiology provides cloth, not paper, gowns to all patients.
  • Bring your insurance card. At the imaging center, you will first register at the front desk, then we’ll collect your information to submit it to your insurance company.

After registering, a mammography technologist will bring you back to the changing area and your history sheet will be reviewed. The technologist will ask if you are having any new problems and if you have any palpable lumps.

The technologist will then bring you to a mammography room and take two images of each breast. The patient’s breasts are placed one at a time on a flat panel on which a paddle applies gentle, but firm pressure. The compression lasts 10 seconds. The compression is important as it serves to separate the tissues within the breast to optimize image quality.

The technologists will review each image for technical excellence and may need to repeat an image if there is motion, inadequate positioning or suboptimal compression. If the images are good and this is a routine screening mammogram, the technologist will take you back to the changing room and you can dress and leave.

At Wake Radiology, a breast imaging specialist, not a general radiologist, will review your images. Once we have results, your referring physician will receive the results within 5 to 10 business days. If there are any questions or concerns, you will be contacted immediately.

If you have any questions or concerns during the screening mammogram procedure, our office team members, mammography technologists and radiologists are happy to address your concerns.

Schedule Your Mammogram Today

For your first exam, consider starting with a 3D mammogram. Wake Radiology is the Triangle’s leading provider of this revolutionary technology and offer 3D mammography at multiple offices. To request an appointment, call us today at 919-.232-4700 or click here to schedule your mammogram appointment.  

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