Breast Imaging Tomosynthesis

As a woman, you have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer during your lifetime. Used in conjunction with self-awareness and an annual physical exam from your healthcare provider, mammography can help detect breast cancer in its early, most treatable stages. Tomosynthesis is an advanced type of mammography.

Baptist Health is nationally recognized for excellence in cancer care. We offer a comprehensive breast cancer screening and treatment program, including advanced mammography like tomosynthesis. Best of all, you’ll appreciate convenient appointment times, locations near you and a personalized focus to meet your needs before, during and after your mammogram.

What Is Tomosynthesis?

Tomosynthesis is an advanced type of mammogram that can detect breast cancer even before symptoms appear. It can be called 3-D mammography or digital breast tomosynthesis. The process uses several low-dose X-rays to take pictures of breast tissue from different angles. The 3D exam shows pictures “slices” throughout the entire thickness of the breast in each view.

What Can Tomosynthesis Accomplish?

Tomosynthesis produces more detailed images of breast cancer than a typical mammogram. These more detailed images can:

  • Identify breast changes sooner
  • Deliver more accurate images for dense breast tissue
  • Reduce the rate of false-positive readings that require call-back imaging
  • Increase accuracy in pinpointing the size, shape and location of breast abnormalities

What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

During a tomosynthesis mammogram, the breast is positioned and compressed in the same way as in a traditional mammogram. Compressing the breast evens out the tissue so that small abnormalities are less likely to be hidden by overlapping tissue. The breast remains compressed as an X-ray tube moves in an arc around the breast, capturing multiple images. It takes less than 5 seconds for the imaging and the entire process takes less than 30 minutes. The information from the X-rays is sent to a computer, which produces a detailed 3-D image of the breast tissue. 

The 3-D images will be read by a radiologist, who will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care provider. If you are having a screening annual mammogram you will be notified by a letter within a 10-day time frame. You may be having a new problem that requires a diagnostic mammogram. The diagnostic mammogram is done under the direction of a radiologist. After the entire diagnostic exam is completed, you will get the results that day.


Tomosynthesis mammograms are fast and easy, and most women only experience slight discomfort during breast compression.

Tomosynthesis Possible Risks

Radiation exposure from a tomosynthesis mammogram is low and well within FDA-approved levels of safety. Risks associated with tomosynthesis are minimal but can include:

  • Some cancers can hide in dense breast tissue and not show up in a mammogram.