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Full Field Digital Mammography

Using low-dose X-rays, a Full Field Digital Mammography scans your breasts to produce digital mammographic images. Doctors then check the images for irregularities and compare the results with the images from previous tests.

About

During a Mammogram low-dose X-rays are used to scan your breasts. The images are checked for irregularities and doctors can compare the results with the images from previous tests. During a full field digital mammography x-rays are converted into digital mammographic images. Like a digital camera they can be transferred to a computer for long term storage. An alternative to using the traditional film mammogram, digital mammography screening of this kind is more efficient and enables better pictures with a lower radiation dose. This ensures breast cancer is highlighted early – before any symptoms are experienced – when it is most treatable.

How is the procedure performed?

A patient’s experience during a Full Field Digital Mammography is similar to the conventional film mammogram. During the screening a specially qualified radiologic technologist (mammographer) will position your breast in the mammography unit. Your breast will be placed on a special platform and compressed with a clear plastic paddle. The technologist will then gradually compress your breast.
Breast compression is necessary in order to:
• Even out the breast thickness so that all of the tissue can be visualised.
• Ensure small abnormalities are less likely to be hidden by overlying breast tissue.
• Allow the use of a lower x-ray dose and reduce x-ray scatter to increase sharpness of picture.
Between images you will be asked to change positions. The routine views are a top-to-bottom view (CC) and an angled side view (MLO).

Risks

Any small increased risk from radiation exposure is likely to be outweighed by the benefit of detecting breast cancer early.

Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

Preparation

If your breasts are usually tender in the week before your menstrual period we advise you do not schedule a digital mammogram for this time. The optimum time for a mammogram is in the week following your period.
It is also vital you inform your doctor or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you could be pregnant.
Before screening we recommend:
• You obtain your prior mammograms and make them available to the radiologist even if they were done at a different hospital.
• You describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist performing the exam.
• You refrain from wearing deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots.

Results

One the procedure is complete a report will be validated and made available to the consultant almost immediately. If the patient needs intervention (Biopsy or FNA) the specimen is sent to the pathology laboratory. Results will be sent to the consultant, the patient will have a follow up appointment to discuss the result.

Breast Clinic

The Breast Unit comprises a multidisciplinary team that enables surgeons to work in partnership with their colleagues in imaging and pathology to ensure a smooth and informed process for patients.

A patient speaking to a receptionist

Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, ENT, as well as a private GP practice and our urgent care centre, Casualty First, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information then get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 3370 1041 .

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

 If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have medical insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa PPP, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation for any treatment and, in most cases, you will require a referral letter from your GP.

If you do not have a GP, then we have an in-house private GP practice that you can use. Alternatively we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstance.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRI’s a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

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