3D Mammography Digital Breast Tomosynthesis
What is 3D mammography/tomosynthesis?
3D/tomosynthesis mammography is revolutionary state of the art technology that allows radiologists to "see" through the breast tissue, layer by layer, more closely by minimizing overlapping breast tissues. During a 3D mammogram, multiple low dose images are acquired at different angles. This provides multiple slices through your breast tissue for the radiologist to view similar to flipping through pages of a book.
What are the benefits?
Earlier detection: by minimizing the impact of overlapping breast tissue, 3D mammography can detect more cancers at an earlier stage.
Fewer callbacks: 3D mammography helps distinguish normal overlapping tissue from real cancers, leading to fewer callbacks and less anxiety for women.
Better visualization: radiologists can better see the size, shape and location of an abnormality.
Is a 3D/tomosynthesis mammogram a separate exam?
No, a 3D/tomosynthesis mammogram requires separate views that are performed at the same time as your usual mammogram.
Costs and Insurance
Many insurance companies are not yet covering the costs of 3D/tomosynthesis mammography despite proven benefits. MidMichigan Health will attempt to bill the 3D/tomosynthesis portion to your insurance. In the event your insurance does not cover the tomosynthesis/3D costs, you will receive a bill from the hospital for the 3D/tomosynthesis portion for $65 and a bill from the radiologist for reading/interpreting the exam for $35. This is in addition to the base fee for a 2D conventional mammogram.
Patients are encouraged to check with their individual health plans for coverage details. The CPT codes are listed below for reference.
- Tomosynthesis when performed with a screening mammogram, CPT 77063
- Tomosynthesis when performed with a diagnostic mammogram, CPT G0279
How to Schedule Your Mammogram
To schedule your mammogram at one of MidMichigan Health's conveniently located breast-care centers:
- Get a mammogram order from your physician.
- Call MidMichigan Health scheduling at 1-888-367-2778, to schedule your appointment. When scheduling your appointment, tell the scheduler you would like to have a 3D/tomosynthesis mammogram.
- Seek financial-support information if you are concerned about how to afford a mammogram.
Preparation and Procedure
Before scheduling a mammogram, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and other specialty organizations recommend 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 period. Always inform your doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
The ACS also recommends:
- If your breasts are tender or sensitive to caffeine, avoid consuming it the day of your test.
- Do not wear deoderant, talcum powder 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.
- Mammography is performed on an outpatient basis.
The examination process will take a few seconds more per view than a digital mammogram, or approximately 20-30 minutes.