Breast Health Network

What to Expect at Your Appointment

We use a variety of modern imaging and diagnostic methods to provide the most accurate results for our patients. For those unfamiliar with these procedures, these outlines will give you a good idea on how to prepare for, and what you can expect during, your appointment. If you would like additional information about any of these procedures, please contact us. 

At Breast Health Network Northwest, patient receives long-stem rose at check-out counter.













Digital Mammography / 3D Digital Mammography (Tomosynthesis)

Before Your Appointment

  • Bring a disc or films from any prior mammograms if they were done at a facility other than a Breast Health Network location.
  • On your exam day, don’t wear talcum powder, deodorant, lotion or perfume under your arms or on your breasts. Deodorant will be provided after the exam.
  • Wear two-piece clothing so that you have to remove only your top and bra for the examination.
  • To help minimize discomfort during your exam, schedule your mammogram during the two weeks following your menstrual cycle (when breasts are less tender).

During Your Appointment

  • You will be escorted to a private dressing room where you will be asked to undress from the waist up. You will be given a gown that opens in the front.
  • Your technologist will ask you some questions to better understand your history and/or any problems you may be having.
  • The technologist will position you at the scanning device, which will compress your breast to allow for the low-dose X-ray to reach the tissue.
  • With 3D digital mammography, the scanning device will rotate around the breast, taking multiple X-rays from various angles to create a three-dimensional image of the breast.

Learn more about digital mammography
Watch a brief video about tomosynthesis.


Breast MRI

Before Your Appointment

  • Arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment time. Plan for the appointment to take approximately 90 minutes.

During Your Appointment

  • You will be escorted to a private dressing room where you will change into a gown and remove all jewelry (since metal disturbs MRI signals).
  • You will lie on a moveable examination table and will be positioned feet first in the MRI scanner.
  • You will lie face down with your arms up over your head.
  • Your technologist will administer contrast material through an intravenous injection. This allows for the machine to see the results more clearly.
  • If you have any feeling of claustrophobia or anxiety, you will be offered Valium.
  • You will be scanned for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • If you have chosen to take Valium prior to the test, you will need to have someone drive you from the clinic. Otherwise, there are no adverse reactions from this type of screening, and you will be able to resume your normal activities immediately afterward.

Learn more about breast MRI

Breast Ultrasound

During Your Appointment

  • You will be escorted to a private dressing room where you will be asked to undress from the waist up. You will be given a gown that opens in the front.
  • The technologist will ask you some questions to better understand your history and/or any problems you may be having.
  • You will lie down on a table and a hypoallergenic, water-soluble gel will be applied to your breast to allow the ultrasound to travel through skin.
  • A small probe will be passed over the surface of your breast, which will create a painless sensation of light pressure. A picture of the breast tissue will be seen on the ultrasound screen.
  • After the test, the gel will be removed.
  • The test will take 15 to 30 minutes.

Learn more about breast ultrasound. 

DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorpitometry) Bone Density Scan

Before Your Appointment

  • Do not take any calcium supplements the morning of your exam.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that has no metal zippers or buttons in the abdominal or pelvic area. If you wear clothing with metal components, you may be asked to change into a gown.
  • If you have recently undergone a barium study of any kind, such as an upper gastrointestinal tract exam, barium enema or CT scan, wait at least two weeks before scheduling a bone density scan.

During Your Appointment

  • You will be asked to lie on your back on a padded table while a moveable arm passes over your body.
  • A technician will remain with you during the exam, which takes 15 to 30 minutes.
  • You will feel no sensations from the exam and will be able to continue with your day immediately afterward.

Frequently Asked Questions

 





Breast Health Network Partnership