Health Care Imaging

3D Breast Tomosynthesis

About the Examination

3D breast tomosynthesis is a type of procedure used specifically to image breast tissue. Unlike a mammogram, which captures a 2D or flat image of the breast, a tomosynthesis can be used to produce 3D images. The X-ray procedure is similar to a mammogram, except the X-ray tube moves in an arc over your breast.Some women find the examination uncomfortable, for those that do, the discomfort passes quickly. Every effort will be made by the Mammographer to ensure you are as comfortable as possible during the examination. Please note,children will not be allowed in the X-ray room. Patients will be able to return to normal activities immediately after the procedure.

What conditions can be diagnosed by a 3D Breast Tomosynthesis?

The 3D breast tomosynthesis procedure is used by doctors and specialists to diagnose breast cancer, and various other diseases of the breast, for example fibroid adenoma. We may also add an ultrasound examination to add to the information. This is usually done at the discretion of the Radiologist, and is often done when breasts are especially dense.

Why is a 3D Breast Tomosynthesis required?

Like a mammogram, 3D breast tomosynthesis can detect tumours which are too small to be felt. Patients who are considered at high risk of developing breast cancer (i.e. due to a family history of breast cancer) may be advised by their doctor to undergo testing.


Patients are asked to:

  • Book an appointment when their breast are least tender, where possible.
  • Let us know if you have had a previous mastectomy, or breast implants.
  • Avoid using perfumes, deodorants and antiperspirants or any cream and powders (these may show up on the x-ray images making them more difficult to read).
  • Let the centre know beforehand if you have any physical or mental difficulties, require extra time and/or a carer to be present.
  • Bring any previous mammograms

What will happen when you arrive for your mammogram?

Your details will be checked, and your examination carried out by a Radiographer who has specialised in breast work or more commonly called a Mammographer. Your will be asked to undress from the waist up. It is recommended that you wear a loose, comfortable, two part outfit. The whole appointment takes less than half an hour and the actual 3D Tomosynthesis will take around 5- 10 minutes.

The Results

The Radiologist’s report which contains your results will be sent to your doctor within a few days.

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