Tomosynthesis (3D mammography)

Digital tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, is an advanced imaging test that is used to detect breast cancer. Unlike other breast cancer screening methods, including standard mammograms, tomosynthesis produces detailed, three-dimensional images of the breasts. This can make the presence of an abnormal lump more readily apparent – especially when a patient has dense breast tissue. Virtually all other aspects of the two tests are identical: 2D and 3D mammography scans take approximately the same amount of time, and while the processes do involve mild, temporary pressure on the breasts, both procedures are generally painless.

3D mammograms are typically offered as alternatives to standard, 2D mammograms. The difference is that with tomosynthesis, a camera moves over the top of the breast in an arc and takes multiple images in rapid succession. A computer assembles a 3D image of the breast tissue in 1-millimeter slices, which a radiologist can view in thin, individual segments.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we provide our patients with access to the latest and most effective cancer screening options, including tomosynthesis. Each patient’s test results are interpreted by an experienced radiologist, who works closely with the patient’s oncologists if cancer is found. The benefits of this approach are twofold:

  • Due to our emphasis on early detection, we are able to treat many cancers before they start to spread. This means that our patients may have a wide range of potential treatments to choose from.
  • When treating a patient who was diagnosed with breast cancer after an abnormal imaging scan, our oncologists have detailed information about the size and positioning of the tumor to guide their recommendations. This enables them to select the treatments that are most likely to produce favorable survival outcomes and the highest quality of life.

For more information about tomosynthesis or any of our other breast cancer screening options, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. You can schedule an appointment for 3D mammography at Moffitt with or without a referral.