Digital Mammography

Mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that uses low-dose x-rays to detect breast cancer early – before women experience symptoms – when it is most treatable. Digital Screening Mammography is offered at NorthCrest Medical Center. Both screening and diagnostic procedures are available, and interpreted by Board Certified Radiologists specializing in Breast Imaging.

Diagnostic mammography is also available. Women having a diagnostic examination, in most cases will get verbal results and recommendations before leaving the department.

Other diagnostic imaging procedures include:

  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Ultrasound
  • Ultrasound-guided core biopsy
  • Stereotactic core biopsy
  • Needle localization

Screening examinations are read separately, and a report is sent promptly to the ordering physician. A letter stating results and recommendations are mailed to the patient within 10-30 days.

If you have questions regarding the procedure your physician has ordered, please call (615) 384-1531, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to be connected with specialized staff that can answer your questions.

Will my medical insurance cover the cost of a mammogram?

Prior to your appointment, we advise that you contact your insurance company. Ask if screening and diagnostic mammography, as well as breast ultrasound, are covered and how often. Also, check your coverage for deductibles or co-pays in each category. Mammography coverage varies from one insurance plan to another and can change annually. Specific procedures are performed based on patient symptoms and clinical need. Depending on your insurance coverage, the patient may be responsible for facility and radiologist fees.

What is a screening mammogram?

A yearly screening mammogram is recommended by the American Cancer Society for women age 40 and older to check for breast cancer even if there are no visible signs or symptoms of the disease. Typically, two X-rays of each breast are obtained. A breast physical examination is not performed during a routine screening mammogram.

What is a diagnostic mammogram?

A diagnostic mammogram is performed when patients are having or have had an area of concern in their breast. Specialized X-rays of the symptomatic breast are obtained as directed by the radiologist. A breast physical examination may also be performed.

If your doctor orders a diagnostic mammogram, your insurance company may, or may not, cover the cost.

How do I know what exam is recommended for me?

Be sure to tell your doctor if you notice any changes in your breast so she/he can decide which type of mammogram is best for you. Your referring physician will have a copy of your most recent mammogram report. If you have concerns about your mammography insurance coverage, please be sure to let your physician know.

Is there information I need to share with the scheduler when making an appointment?

Please inform the scheduler if you have any breast changes or concerns, e.g. pain, lump or discharge, if you have breast implants, any special needs or if you are breast feeding.

How should I prepare for my appointment?

Plan to allow a total of 30-45 minutes for your appointment.

Wear a two–piece outfit if possible, as you will be asked to undress completely from the waist up.

On the day of your exam, do NOT wear deodorant, perfume, powder or lotion. A shower or bath is recommended prior to your exam, as hygiene products can show on a mammogram as an abnormality.

Please make arrangements for the care of your children during your exam. Radiology Services does not have anyone available to supervise your children.

Do I need to bring my previous mammograms from another facility to my appointment?

It is very important that you obtain images if performed at a facility other than Northcrest Medical Center either on film or CD. Please bring them with you to your appointment. Prior images are critical to the radiologist who uses them to look for changes over the years. When prior images are not available, additional exams or images may be needed or the interpretation of your mammogram may be delayed.

Do I need a signed physician order for breast imaging procedures?

A signed physician order is required for your breast imaging evaluation. If your physician gave you an order, you will need to bring it to your appointment. If your physician’s office faxed your order to Central Scheduling, you do not need to bring the order on the day of your service.

How will I receive my results?

Results are sent to your physician and a letter is mailed to you within 30 days of your examination. .In most cases, verbal results are given at the end of this callback appointment.

Reminder letters are also mailed to patients to schedule their next mammogram. If you have a question about your reminder letter, or did not get a result letter, please call the Imaging Center at 615-384-1531.

Why do some patients receive same day mammogram results?

Patient’s having a diagnostic mammogram get verbal results and recommendations on the same day as their mammogram. This includes patients with a current issue or that are having a follow-up exam.

Who can I call if I have clinical questions?

Your primary care doctor should be your first resource if you have questions about your breast health

What is CAD?

CAD stands for Computer-Aided Detection. This is a component of software used to assist the radiologist in identifying abnormalities on a mammogram. CAD is used on all screening mammograms and most diagnostic mammograms. Patients do not have the option of whether CAD is utilized or not.

Can I have a breast ultrasound instead of a mammogram?

A Breast Ultrasound cannot replace a mammogram. It may be recommended by a radiologist to further image the breast tissue and provide additional information. Both exams are used together. When a mammogram shows a mass, a breast ultrasound can help the radiologist understand if it is filled with fluid, like a cyst, or if it is solid.

Once I arrive at the hospital where do I go to have my test?

Once you enter the main entrance of the facility you will stop at Patient Registration to register for your test. Once registered, you will be escorted to Medical Imaging on the first floor of the hospital.

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