A screening mammogram is a routine exam, typically performed yearly. The mammogram is performed and viewed for technical quality by the technologist. The images are then interpreted by the radiologist.
A diagnostic mammogram is performed when a patient presents with an abnormality, for example a new breast lump, new focal pain, discharge, or other issue. The mammogram is performed and interpreted the same day as the exam. Additional mammogram views and/or ultrasound may be performed.
How Do I Prepare for a Mammogram?
Once you have scheduled your mammogram, Washington Health System Women’s Health Services recommends you follow these guidelines to prepare for your procedure:
- If a previous mammogram was done at a facility other than Washington Health System Women’s Health Services , request those images be sent to Washington Health System Women’s Health Services to avoid any delay in interpretation
- Refrain from wearing perfume, talcum powder, or deodorant the day of your mammogram, as these products can interfere with the quality of the imaging
- Bring your mammography prescription from your doctor to your mammogram appointment, as well as your health insurance card and photo ID
- Upon arrival, report to Washington Health System Women’s Health Services on the fourth floor. You should plan to remain in the Mammography Department for approximately one to one and a half hours for a diagnostic mammography appointment
What Will Happen During the Mammogram?
- Your breast will be positioned in the mammography unit and placed on a platform for compression
- Your breast will be gradually compressed so that all breast tissue can be seen and examined, and small abnormalities are not obscured
- It is important to remain still and hold your breath during the mammogram, so that the image is not blurred
- The compression of your breast may be uncomfortable, especially for women who have very sensitive breasts, but compression aids in diagnosis
- Allow 1 1/2 to 2 hours for your diagnostic mammogram appointment
Receiving Your Test Results After the Mammogram
Washington Health System Women’s Health Services staff of fellowship trained and board-certified radiologists will review and interpret your mammography images. Once your mammogram is completed, you may resume your normal activities unless otherwise directed by your physician. If you have any additional questions, please contact Washington Health System Women’s Health Services at (724) 223-3313.
As soon as your mammogram is reviewed by the radiologist, you and your physician will be notified by letter of the results of your exam. If the radiologist has identified an area of concern, Washington Health System Women’s Health Services Mammography Department will contact you directly and ask that you return for additional testing, if needed.
Scheduling a Mammogram
To schedule a mammogram, contact Washington Health System Women’s Health Services at (724) 223-3313. Washington Health System Women’s Health Services offers imaging services at its Mammography Center at Meadows Outpatient Center 80 Landings Drive, Washington, PA, and Peters Township Outpatient Center 4198 Washington Road, McMurray, PA.