Breast Imaging Services
Upper Valley Medical Center offers comprehensive services focusing on the best options for breast health. We offer mammography — including 3D mammography — and other imaging services. Our center receives high marks from patients on satisfaction surveys. Patients can count on:
- Results for screening mammograms are completed within 1 to 3 days. You’ll receive a letter from your physician within 7 to 10 days
- 3D mammography, the latest advancement in mammography, for both screening and diagnostic mammograms
- On-site radiologists
- Little-to-no wait time
- Highly-trained and experienced staff
- Heated spa robes for comfort
- Free parking at the Hyatt Center
Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Successful treatment depends on early detection. A mammogram remains the only approved screening procedure for detecting breast cancer. Along with monthly breast self-examinations and an annual breast examination by a health care professional, annual mammograms can improve the odds of discovering breast cancer early, when treatment can be most beneficial.
Screening mammograms are for women who have no breast problems or complaints. Screening mammograms do not require a physician’s order or prescription. When to begin regular mammograms is a personal decision between you and your doctor. Currently the American Cancer Society recommends starting annual mammograms at age 40. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, check with your physician about being screened at an earlier age.
Remind a friend or loved one to have a screening mammogram. Send a mammogram reminder.
A diagnostic mammogram is for women who:
- Have a breast problem
- Need additional images to clarify previous results
- Need follow-up breast care
A diagnostic mammogram is problem-focused, examining abnormalities or questionable areas identified in a screening mammogram or clinical breast exam. You’ll need an order from your physician to schedule a diagnostic mammogram.
A diagnostic mammogram is covered by most health insurance companies, but patients should call their insurance company prior to scheduling an appointment to confirm coverage.
At the Upper Valley Medical Center, ultrasound may be performed along with a diagnostic mammogram for follow-up to a known problem.
We use ultrasound imaging of the breast to distinguish between solid tumors and fluid-filled cysts. We also use it to evaluate lumps that are hard to see on a mammogram.
Sometimes, ultrasound imaging is used along with other diagnostic procedures such as a biopsy. A biopsy is the removal of tissue with a needle or similar device for examination under a microscope to evaluate signs of disease.
Ultrasound is not used for routine breast cancer screenings without a mammogram because it does not consistently detect certain early signs of cancer such as microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium in the breast that cannot be felt but can be seen on a conventional mammogram). A cluster of microcalcifications may indicate that cancer is present.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the breast is a useful diagnostic tool for:
- Detection and characterization of breast disease
- Assessment of local extent of disease
- Evaluation of treatment response
- Guidance for biopsy and localization
- Assessing abnormal areas seen on a mammogram
- Evaluating extremely dense breast tissue
- Evaluating breast implants for leaks or ruptures
MRI can also be used to screen certain groups of women, such as young women at high risk for breast cancer. As with a breast ultrasound, MRI is a supplement to mammography and not a replacement for it.
Breast MRI images should be taken of both breasts, except for women with a history of mastectomy, or when the MRI is performed specifically to further evaluate or follow findings in one breast. MRI findings should be correlated with clinical history, physical examination results, and the results of mammography and any other prior breast imaging.
Most women who have an abnormal exam do not have breast cancer, but rather have a benign breast problem. A breast biopsy is a procedure in which part or all of a suspicious breast growth is removed and examined.
Image-Guided Biopsy – At Upper Valley Medical Center, if a breast imaging exam shows an area that needs to be biopsied, an image-guided biopsy is performed. A needle or similar device is used to obtain a sample of the area in question. Ultrasound, MRI or stereotactic guidance may be used to help your physician precisely locate the area to be biopsied. The incision is about a half-inch long. The tissue obtained with the needle is sent to the pathology lab for analysis.
Open Surgical Biopsy – An open surgical biopsy is usually done as a same-day procedure in an operating room. The tissue of the area in question, as well as some adjacent tissue, is surgically removed. The incision is usually a little larger than for an image-guided biopsy. The tissue obtained is sent to the pathology lab for analysis.
In both biopsies, the results are available to your physician usually within 72 hours.
Where Can I Have Breast Imaging Done?
All or some of these tests can be performed at:
- Upper Valley Medical Center
- Upper Valley Medical Center Outpatient Care Center North
- Upper Valley Medical Center Hyatt Center
Learn About Breast Health
Premier Health Library
The Premier Health Library offers a wealth of information about breast health. Learn about conditions, treatments, how to prepare for surgery, and much more.
Content Updated: May 6, 2016
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