Mammograms and Other Breast Imaging Services

A mammogram is an important step in taking care of yourself. The American Cancer Society recommends women age 40 and over get a mammogram every year, along with a breast exam by a doctor or nurse. And all women, no matter their age, need to let their doctor know about any changes to their breasts.

The Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health is making it even easier to get this important screening.

woman getting a mammogramDigital Mammogram

Digital mammography takes an electronic image of the breast and stores it directly in a computer. Digital mammograms are better at detecting breast cancer in women with dense breasts, or who are pre-or peri-menopausal than traditional mammography. Patients can bring their old films in and we will scan and transfer them at no charge to the digital format for easy comparison. Although compression of the breasts is still important when performing digital mammography, the compression paddles are warmer and more flexible, which ultimately provide women with a more comfortable experience.

3D Mammogram

NAPBC/ACRThree-D mammography or breast tomosynthesis, uses advanced imaging technology to produce a three-dimensional image of the breast. When combined with digital mammography using the same scanner, breast tomosynthesis takes multiple images and reconstructs them to create a 3D view of the entire breast. This is especially helpful if you have dense breasts as it provides a greater precision in pinpointing size, shape and location of any abnormalities.

center for women's healthPersonal Attention at the Silver Cross Breast Center

From the moment you arrive (and valet park) at Silver Cross, you are treated with the utmost concern. Our spa-like environment has private dressing and exam rooms. Mammograms are performed by female technicians who know your time is valuable so we will have you in and out quickly—usually within 30 minutes or less.

To put your mind at ease, screening mammography results are just a phone call away through a special 24-hour hotline. Fellowship-trained breast radiologists read and provide the results. And if you need additional testing, our dedicated nurse navigator can help you coordinate the next steps in your care, which may include a diagnostic mammogram, breast ultrasound, or stereotactic breast biopsy.

No Order? No Problem!

For your convenience, you no longer need an order from your primary care physician for your annual screening mammogram. However, if you have noticed a change in your breasts or have a history of lumps or cancer, you will need to contact your doctor before scheduling your mammogram. Your doctor may request specific breast images.

Discounts at Local Businesses

It's important to Silver Cross that you take care of yourself; that's why we reward women who get their annual mammogram with valuable discounts at over 100 local businesses through our free I Matter™ program. Not already a member? Sign-up today for free. You'll receive your discount card at the time of your mammography appointment.

Breast MRI

breast MRI

Breast MRI uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to produce detailed, cross-sectional images of the inside of the breast but does not replace mammography. Each exam produces hundreds of cross-sectional images of the breast that are then read by a radiologist. Breast MRI is used to examine suspicious areas found with a mammogram or to look more closely at the breast tissue in someone who has already been diagnosed with breast cancer. MRI exams for breast imaging use a contrast material that is injected into a vein of the arm during the exam. This improves the ability of the MRI to clearly show breast tissue details.

Breast MRI Instructions

  • Breast MRI must be scheduled between 7 and 14 days after the first day of your menstrual cycle.
  • A recent mammography must be completed within the last 30 days.
  • You need to bring any outside films such as a mammogram or ultrasound and reports with you including any pathology reports from previous biopsies or breast surgery.

If you have any metal fragments or implants such as a pacemaker in your body or you have a fear of confined spaces, please tell the scheduler or technologist prior to your appointment.

Breast Ultrasound

Ultrasound, which uses sounds waves to look inside the breast, is sometimes used along with mammograms for certain women, especially if you have dense breast tissue. If you're at high risk for breast cancer, your doctor may recommend an ultrasound screening done yearly with a mammogram. If a breast MRI screening is performed, ultrasound screening is not needed.

At the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health, a specially trained technician places a small, microphone-like instrument called a transducer lubricated with gel on the skin. It emits sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off body tissues. The echoes are converted into an image on a computer screen and interpreted by a radiologist at Silver Cross. Results will be sent to your referring physician. Breast ultrasound is painless and does not expose you to radiation.

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic breast biopsy uses digital mammography to help locate a breast lump or abnormality and remove a tissue sample for examination under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. Breast biopsies are usually done on an outpatient basis and are performed by a specially trained radiologist in the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health. It’s less invasive than surgical biopsy, leaves little to no scarring and can be an excellent way to evaluate calcium deposits or tiny masses that are not visible on ultrasound.

How is the Procedure Performed?

  • You will be seated in front of the stereotactic mammography unit. The breast is compressed and held in position throughout the procedure. Preliminary stereotactic mammogram images are taken.
  • A local anesthetic will be injected into the breast to numb it. The radiologist then inserts the very small biopsy needle and advances it to the location of the abnormality using the mammogram and computer-generated coordinates.
  • Mammogram images are again obtained to confirm that the needle is within the lesion.
  • Tissue samples are then removed from the breast using a vacuum-assisted device. Without withdrawing and reinserting the needle, it rotates positions and collects additional samples.
  • After the sampling, the needle will be removed. A final set of images will be taken. A small marker may be placed at the biopsy site so that it can be located in the future if necessary.
  • Once the biopsy is complete, pressure will be applied to stop any bleeding. The opening in the skin is covered with a dressing. No sutures are needed.

A mammogram may be performed to confirm that the marker is in the proper position. This procedure is usually completed within an hour. Recovery time is brief, and patients can soon resume their usual activities.

Who Interprets the Results and How do I Get Them?

A pathologist examines the removed specimen and makes a final diagnosis.

Follow-up examinations may be necessary. Sometimes a follow-up exam is done because a suspicious or questionable finding needs clarification with additional views or a special imaging technique. A follow-up examination may also be necessary so that any change in a known abnormality can be monitored over time.

Our Certified Breast Care Nurse is available to answer any questions and guide you in the next steps of your care.

Schedule an Appointment

A physician’s order is required for a stereotactic breast biopsy, and it can be scheduled with our Breast Care Nurse at (815) 300-6364.

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.