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.
  • Drink at least eight cups of water a day for 24-48 hours before the MRI.
  • Eat as you normally would, taking into consideration that you will be lying face down for the MRI scan.
  • Take all your medications as prescribed.
  • Remove all jewelry/body piercings before the MRI.
  • Films and reports, including pathology reports, mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs from other breast imaging facilities, are required to complete the reading of your MRI.

During Your Appointment

  • You will be asked to change into a gown and remove all metallic objects such as jewelry, body piercings, glasses, hairpins and removable dentures. Anything that contains metal may distort MRI signals.
  • You will receive an IV of normal saline.
  • The MRI technologist will help position you. You will lay on your stomach with your breasts placed
    through two openings on the contoured MRI table.
  • Earplugs are provided as the machine is very loud.
  • You will enter into the machine feet first.
  • Midway through the scan you will receive a contrast enhancement agent. This agent is administered to help highlight various structures in the breast tissue.
  • The MRI scan will last approximately 30 minutes.​

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