In preparation for your mammogram, please review the following information to help you understand your prep, our procedure, and any questions you may have:
• On the day of your mammogram examination please DO NOT use any deodorant, perfume, powders, ointments, or preparations under the arm area or around your breasts. Please make sure that your underarms and breast area is washed clean of any chemical residue because it can obscure the mammogram.
• If you have a dark black/blue bruise on your breast, please call to reschedule your mammogram unless you are experiencing a lump or concern. A bruise can also obscure the mammogram.
• If you have implants, physical limitations that would not allow you to stand up straight for 20 consecutive minutes, or extremely large breasts; more time should be allowed to do your exam, please call our scheduling desk at 503-399-2484, before your mammogram appointment so we can accommodate.
• Appointments for routine annual screening mammograms are only 30 minutes. It is important to arrive on time or a little early so you do not have to be rescheduled.
• If you are pregnant or think you might be, be sure to tell your technologist before your exam begins.
A guide to a more comfortable mammogram: Although many women experience pain-free mammograms, some women feel discomfort as the mammographer compresses the breast for the image. Here are a few ways to possibly help ease your discomfort:
Quit Caffeine — Women who stop their caffeine in-take completely, especially a week or so before their mammogram, seem to experience less pain during compression.
Over the counter pain relievers — Some women choose to take an over the counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen about 30 minutes before their mammography procedure. This may take the edge off the pain if your breasts are severely tender.
Speak up — If you do experience pain during the procedure, let the technologist know right away. Your technologist will try to make it more tolerable without sacrificing the effectiveness of the mammogram.
Menstrual Cycles — If you are in your menstrual cycle where your breasts are very tender, please call in to reschedule your mammogram. The importance of compression and your being able to tolerate it is far worth you rescheduling into the next week when your breasts are less tender.
Relax — Being very tense can make a difference in the pain level also.
What do I do if I get called back for more pictures? A mammogram is an excellent exam for evaluating breast tissue. Often times, however, extra pictures are needed to give the radiologist more information to facilitate interpretation of the x-rays. These may involve mammography with magnification or local compression or ultrasound, which uses high frequency sound waves to make pictures of breast tissue. Breast tissue consists of varying amounts of fat and fibrous cells. On mammography these tissues show up as different densities of black, gray, and white. After a mammogram is completed, the x-ray pictures are put onto a viewer for the radiologist. After reviewing the exam, the radiologist will often recommend one or more of these additional tests for several reasons:
• The breast tissue is too dense to get an adequate look at all of the tissue.
• Sometimes the breast tissue overlaps and projects shadows.
• There has been a change in the breast tissue between the most recent and previous exams.
• To get further information about a lump the patient or doctor is feeling.
• To evaluate different densities that show up on a mammogram.
Most of the time, the additional images are able to show that there is no real change to be concerned about. Being called back for additional imaging is anxiety-producing, but getting the best and most accurate information is everyone’s goal.