It is a special X-ray of the breasts to look for masses and suspicious lesions in the breast. It may be combined with Ultrasonography for breast for a more clear picture.
When you have a mammogram, a skilled technologist positions and compresses your breast between two clear plates. The plates are attached to a highly specialized camera, which takes two pictures of the breast from two directions. Then the technologist repeats the technique on the opposite breast.
Mammography can be painful for some women, but for most it is mildly uncomfortable, and the sensation lasts for just a few seconds. Compressing the breast is necessary to flatten and reduce the thickness of the breast so that the X-ray beam should penetrate as few layers of overlapping tissues as possible. From start to finish, the entire procedure takes about 20 minutes.
Mammography involves minimal radiation exposure. In fact, the amount of radiation exposure from modern-day mammography machines is much lower than it was in past decades. The dose of radiation received during a screening mammogram is about the same amount of radiation a person gets from their natural surroundings (background radiation) in an average 3-month period.
Digital mammograms are now more commonly used. A digital mammogram transforms the X-ray into an electronic picture of the breast that saves onto a computer. Images are immediately visible, so your radiologist doesn’t have to wait for the images. The computer can also help your doctor see images that might not have been very visible on a regular mammogram.