The Benefits of Advanced Tomosynthesis 3D Mammography

Breast Cancer Mammography Women in Pink

What is tomosynthesis?

Tomosynthesis is a 3-Dimensional digital mammography technique used to detect breast cancer. It consists of multiple images through the breast, allowing doctors to “see through” much of the dense tissue and better detect small cancers that may have otherwise been hidden. (Think of the difference between seeing a flat circle versus seeing a ball.)

Why would I need to consider tomosynthesis?

Tomosynthesis is recommended for women with dense breast tissue and/or high breast cancer risk. Approximately 40 percent of women in the United States have “dense” breast tissue, meaning that the tissue appears whiter on mammograms than “fatty” breast tissue, which is more transparent. This white appearance clouds the mammogram image, making cancerous tumors difficult to see. Recent literature suggests that dense-breasted patients are between four and six times more likely to develop breast cancer. However, according to the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2013, tomosynthesis has significantly improved cancer detection for women with dense breasts.

How does the level of radiation compare and how long does it take?

The radiation dose of tomosynthesis is equivalent to the prior 2-D mammograms that were used for more than 30 years. The screening is completed in about five minutes which is much faster than whole breast ultrasound.

What does tomosynthesis cost?

Some insurance companies cover tomosynthesis while others do not. If you have any questions regarding your specific coverage, please contact your insurance company. 

If you live in Sevier County, are age 40 or over, and do not have insurance, please apply for our Paint the Mountain’s Pink free mammogram program. This program is only available at LeConte. 

Why choose LeConte for my screening? 

The LeConte Comprehensive Breast Center has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR). There are fewer than 200 ACR-registered mammography facilities in the state of Tennessee, and only 31 have earned the distinction of being Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence.

We offer so much more than screening. If additional follow-up care is needed, you can come back to the same familiar location to continue your care. A patient navigator will help guide you along the way. 

How do I make an appointment?

A referral is not required for tomosynthesis. To schedule an appointment, call the LeConte Comprehensive Breast Center at (865) 446-8000.

Read the testimonial of Pinky Mistry, who credits a mammogram screening at LeConte as the procedure that saved her life.


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