An advanced form of breast imaging or mammography is known as breast tomosynthesis. The other names of it are three-dimensional (3-D) mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). There is the use of a low-dose x-ray system and computer reconstructions in this procedure for creating three-dimensional images of the breasts. A cancer doctor in Kolkata gets much help from breast tomosynthesis in the early detection and diagnosis of breast disease.

The x-ray tube moves in an arc over the compressed breast and captures multiple images of each breast from different angles. A computer then reconstructs or synthesizes these images into a set of three-dimensional images. The tissue overlap that hides cancers or makes it difficult to distinguish false-positive overlapping breast tissue from tumours minimizes a lot due to these three-dimensional image sets.

Some common uses

In order to perform screening mammography, a test for the detection of early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms, there is the use of breast tomosynthesis. It has been found to give more accurate results and reduce false-positive rates in women of all breast densities when the doctor suggests this test. Women with non-dense breasts also demonstrate significantly better cancer detection and comparatively fewer false-positive findings when tomosynthesis is used, although the largest improvements with this method are seen in women with dense breast tissue. The use of breast tomosynthesis may also prove to be effective for performing diagnostic mammography to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain, skin dimpling or nipple discharge.

The preparations

You should discuss any new findings or problems in your breast with the best oncologist in Kolkata before arranging a schedule for the mammogram. You should also give other medical information to your doctor if needed. In the week before your menstrual period, do not plan your screening mammogram as your breasts will be tender during this time. The week following your period is the best time for a screening mammogram. If you have any possibility of being pregnant, inform that also. On the day of the exam, don’t apply any deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts. This is because, in a mammogram, these can be confused as calcium deposits. You should also carry any prior mammogram reports with you on that day and show them to the radiologist if asked for.

The machine

The radiologist uses a special digital mammography unit capable of performing tomosynthesis imaging. There is a rectangular box in the machine. The tube in which X-rays are produced is in the box. For x-ray exam of the breasts exclusively, the unit is used. The breasts only are exposed to the x-rays with the help of special accessories. There is a device attached to the unit, which holds and compresses the breasts. It also positions the breasts so that the machine can obtain images from different angles.

The procedure

Breast tomosynthesis is an outpatient procedure. A qualified radiologist will position your breast in the mammography unit during the examination procedure. You will have to press your breast on a special platform and the radiologist will gradually compress the breast with a clear plastic paddle. During tomosynthesis, the compression of the breast is necessary for many reasons. The x-ray tube will move from one side of your breast to the other in an arc shape while the breast remains compressed. While the tube is moving, it captures multiple changes from different angles. The breast tomosynthesis can also synthesize standard two-dimensional images of the breast for interpretation in addition to the three-dimensional image set. You may have to wait for some time after the test is over while the radiologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.