3D Mammography FAQ

What 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.


During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images. Then, a computer produces a 3D image of the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, providing greater visibility for the radiologist to see breast detail in a way never before possible.

The additional 3D images make it possible for a radiologist to gain a better understanding of the breast tissue during a screening and the confidence to reduce the need for follow-up imaging.

Why is there a need for 3D mammography breast exams? What are the benefits?

With conventional digital mammography, the radiologist is viewing the all the complexities of the breast tissue in one flat image. Sometimes, patches of 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. In this way, 3D mammography finds cancers missed with conventional 2D mammography. It also means there is less chance the physician will call you back for a “second look,” because now they can see breast tissue more clearly.

What is the difference between a screening and diagnostic mammogram?

A screening mammogram is your annual mammogram that is done every year. Sometimes, the radiologist may ask you to come back for follow-up images, which is called a diagnostic mammogram to further evaluate an unclear area in your breast. Your doctor also may order a diagnostic mammogram, if you have any symptoms, problems, or change in your clinical breast exam.


Is there more radiation dose with 3D mammography?

Very low X-ray energy is used during the exam, just about the same amount as a traditional mammogram done on film.


Who can have a 3D mammography exam?

It is approved for all women who undergo a standard mammogram in both the screening and diagnostic settings.


White Plains Hospital has four easily accessible Women's Imaging Departments to schedule an appointment at your convenience.


For questions or help scheduling your appointment, you may also call 914-681-1260.