Three-dimensional (3-D) mammography (also known as breast tomosynthesis) creates 3-D images of your breast using low-dose digital X-rays.
A 2-D (two-dimensional) mammogram is a standard mammogram. It creates flat images of your breast.
Sometimes during a 2-D mammogram, the breast tissue can overlap while it is compressed. This can make the tissue look abnormal. If you have an abnormal mammogram, you will need to have more testing done.
2-D mammograms are safe, accurate and provide reliable results.
3-D mammograms eliminate breast tissue overlap. During the exam, the camera moves in an arc over your breast taking multiple 3-D images. This allows the radiologist to see the breast tissue in sharper images.
If you choose to have a 3-D mammogram, it is done at the same time as your 2-D mammogram.
3-D mammography is an optional exam that anyone can have with a 2-D mammogram. It doesn't replace or take the place of a 2-D mammogram.
You will have some radiation exposure from the X-ray during the exam. The level of radiation exposure is twice the amount of a 2-D mammogram, but still safely below the American College of Radiology guidelines.
3-D mammography is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It is important to understand your health care benefits before your exam. Most insurance providers do not cover the cost of 3-D mammography.
Please call your insurance provider to find out exactly what is and isn't covered under your plan, and how much you have to pay yourself.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Three-dimensional (3-D) Mammography
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
We offer 3-D mammography at these Virginia Piper Cancer Institute® locations:
To schedule a 3-D mammogram, contact any of the locations listed above or talk to your primary care provider.