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Full field digital mammography is a diagnostic, low dose x-ray examination, using dedicated equipment, for examining the breast.  It is usually offered to women over 40 and is used routinely in screening programmes.  It is also the first investigation for symptomatic purposes, including for those with a family history of breast cancer or on hormone replacement therapy. 

In order to perform a mammogram, the breast is compressed between two perspex x-ray plates, some women find this uncomfortable, and a very small number may find it painful.  Mammography is carried out by a radiographer and the image of the breast is then reviewed by a consultant breast radiologist, who will produce a report for the consultant breast surgeon.

The procedures performed are:

  • Bilateral – both breasts
  • Unilateral – one breast
  • Extra views
  • Stereotactic guided fine needle aspiration cytology and core biopsy.
  • Guidewire insertion to assist with surgical excision.
  • Vacuum biopsy

Download our patient leaflet; What to expect from your Tomosynthesis exam

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