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The Breast Center at St. David’s Medical Center is pleased to be the first in Austin to offer a revolutionary 3-D digital mammography system known as “breast tomosynthesis” (3-D mammography). With annual volumes exceeding 15,000 mammograms and 1,200 biopsies, The Breast Center is excited to incorporate the latest technology in screening and diagnostic mammography in the care and treatment of our patients.

What is breast tomosynthesis? What are the benefits of breast tomosynthesis?

Breast tomosynthesis is the first and only FDA-approved 3-D digital technology that enables radiologists to see your breast in greater detail than traditional mammography. Breast tomosynthesis produces a 3-D image of your breast tissue in one-millimeter slices, allowing radiologists to see “inside” the breast, minimizing or eliminating ambiguity caused by overlapping tissue, common in women with dense breasts.

An objective research study comparing the use of traditional digital mammography to a 2-D/3-D breast tomosynthesis in 13,856 women revealed that the use of the 2-D/3-D breast tomosynthesis combination resulted in:

  • 35% increase in cancer detection rates
  • 53% increase in detection rates of invasive cancers
  • 38% decline in call backs for additional images
  • 11% decline in biopsy rates

How do I qualify for a 3-D mammogram?

Breast tomosynthesis is available to all patients who are due for their annual screening mammogram. Detection benefits have been demonstrated in all types of breast tissue. Diagnostic exams may also be performed with a physician`s order.

What should I expect during the 3-D mammogram?

A 3-D mammogram is similar to a traditional (2-D) digital mammogram. Our technologist will position you, compress your breast and take images from different angles. The x-ray arms sweep in an arc over your breast taking multiple breast images to produce the 3-D images of your breast. The duration of the exam is similar to that of traditional digital mammography. The technologist will send the images of your breast to the radiologist to be read. The results will be reported to you and your physician.

What is the cost?

The Breast Center at St. David’s Medical Center will bill your insurance company for the 3-D mammogram.

Will I be exposed to more radiation?

The amount of radiation is below the safety standards set forth by the government, and the benefit greatly outweighs any radiation exposure risk. The amount of radiation from a 3-D mammogram is slightly higher than digital mammography and roughly equal to the radiation exposure of traditional mammography on film.


Hours: Monday–Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Soft foam mammopads used to enhance comfort.
RN Navigator ensures you receive prompt results.

For additional information or to schedule your annual mammogram, please call The Breast Center at St. David’s Medical Center at 512-544-8800 or 512-544-8803.

-Brenda Baumann, RN

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