Mammography is radiography of the breast (using X-rays) which allows for the visualization of small benign or malignant tumours before they become palpable or manifest by other symptoms. It is also performed on breasts that have silicon-based or physiologic solution-based implants.
Barring a family history or peculiar breast symptoms, this investigation is recommended every two years beginning from age 50 and may be requested either by your gynaecologist or by the cantonal screening programme.
For a complete investigation, it is necessary to perform 2 radiographs on each breast, one from the front and the other from the side, for a total of 4 images. In order to ensure a high quality of the image, the breast must be kept compressed during the emission of X-rays (10 seconds). This compression allows for the prevention of motion blurs that may arise due to movement, to achieve better differentiation of various structures of the mammary gland and to reduce the dose of radiation required.
The mammogram must be done between the 5th and 12th day after the first day of the menstrual cycle for patients who are still menstruating. This is in order to avoid possible unknown early pregnancy, reduce the discomfort of the premenstrual phase which is due to breast pressure during compression and to exclude benign breast pathologies which may occasionally appear during the rest of the cycle and make the visualization of the mammary gland difficult.
For your investigation, you must bring the following:
Make sure that you are in the right period of your menstrual cycle (between day 5 and day 12).
By following the link below, you will be able to fill the Mammography questionnaire which will be submitted during your investigation.
The technician in charge of your mammography will help you to fill a questionnaire (please see questionnaire) with the aim of providing the radiologist with information on your personal and family history as well as your current treatments).
Once you have undressed (bare torso) in the investigation room, we will proceed to take the films: in order to make sure you are comfortable, we will compress your breasts one after the order and in a very gradual manner.
This rather popular investigation is not painful when the procedure is gentle and well-explained. At the Servette Imaging Centre, we are convinced that a relationship built on trust between the technician and the patient is the key to a successful and well-tolerated investigation. It should be remembered that the very brief compression is necessary in order to ensure high-quality images and reduce the dose of radiation applied to the breast (only 10 seconds). A protection may be used on the thyroid gland if you request for it, but since the radiation is low and focused on the breast, it will be more of a disturbance than protection to you.
After the investigation, we will usually take you to the ultrasonography room where the radiologist will communicate the result to you verbally. If necessary, an ultrasound scan will be performed.
Subsequently, the technician will give you a CD containing the images. As from the following day, the diagnosis will be transmitted in form of a detailed report by fax or telephone to your physician who ordered the investigation.
Afterwards, you will also be able to request for the report as well as the images for up to 10 years after your investigation.
Our INSPIRATION PRIME Siemens mammography is of the latest generation and gives us the advantage of performing this investigation with a 30% reduction in the dose of radiation compared to the standard dose (anti-diffusion grill is removed for a compressed breast thickness of less than 70mm).
In order to facilitate the radiologist’s work and performance, the analysis of the images is done on high resolution computer monitors.
Investigations that complement mammography are essentially the following: