Westfield Imaging Center - Summit Radiological Associates, P.A. Enhancing the Health of Our Patients
Mammography and CAD FAQs
What is Computer-Aided Detection (CAD)?
Computer Aided Detection (CAD) is breakthrough FDA-approved technology that helps radiologists analyze the mammogram. The computer does not replace the radiologist who interprets the mammogram, but merely acts as a "second pair of eyes" for the radiologist and operates very much like a "spellchecker" to identify characteristics that may warrant a "Second Look". Your mammogram is scanned into the Second Look System and analyzed using sophisticated software.

What are the benefits of CAD in mammography?
The use of CAD as part of the mammography screening process adds a layer of quality assurance. By helping radiologists detect up to 68% of missed cancers an average of 15 months earlier than screening mammography alone, Second Look CAD systems enhance performance, improve confidence and reduce variability due to fatigue, distraction or workload.

Will my insurance pay for CAD?
Medicare and most private insurance companies in the United States consider CAD reimbursable.

When should I get a mammogram?
Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40. Patients at high risk of breast cancer (especially those with a strong family history of breast cancer) should consult their doctor about beginning annual mammograms prior to age 40. Depending upon the results of a screening mammogram, or as part of a follow up to a diagnostic mammogram, women may need to return for additional mammography and diagnostic testing on a more frequent basis. Consult your doctor.

When should I schedule a mammogram?
The best time to schedule a mammogram is one week following your period. Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period as your breasts may be tender during this time.

What can I expect?
When you arrive at Westfield Imaging Center, our front desk staff will register you and help you with your paperwork. You will be called for your exam by the technologist as you relax in our waiting room. The technologist will bring you into the exam room and show you where to leave your belongings. You will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing above the waist, and you will be given a gown that opens in the front.

The technologist will position you. The breast is first placed on a special platform and compressed with a paddle. The quality of your mammogram is greatly dependent on compression of the breast, which may sometimes cause brief discomfort. Compression decreases breast motion that can cause blurry images. The breast is exposed to a small dose of radiation in order to produce the image. You will be asked to change positions slightly between images. The process is repeated for the other breast.

What is the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram?
A Screening Mammogram consists of two "pictures" of each breast. If an area on the mammogram looks suspicious or is not clear, additional images with different views may be needed.

A Diagnostic Mammogram is a mammogram used for problem-solving, rather than for screening. For instance, if a patient has a lump in her breast, a directed investigation of that area is performed. This is also done when a particular finding in the breast is being followed over time. A Diagnostic Mammogram is tailored to the patient's case and is carefully monitored by a radiologist, who interprets the images and determines whether there is any need for further tests.

How long will the mammogram exam take?
Screening mammography can usually be completed in 20 to 30 minutes.

A diagnostic mammogram requires more time and can usually be completed in 30 to 60 minutes. The length of this exam varies from patient to patient according to their needs.

Why is mammography sometimes uncomfortable?
Patients will feel firm pressure but no significant pain. If you feel discomfort, please inform the technologist. The quality of your mammogram is greatly dependent on compression of the breast, which may sometimes cause brief discomfort. Compression decreases breast motion that can cause blurry images. The total x-ray dose to the breast is greatly reduced by good breast compression.

Why can't I wear deodorant or powder?
Deodorants and powder may produce artifacts on the mammogram. These artifacts appear as tiny white spots on the mammogram, and may mimic suspicious calcifications. If a woman wears deodorant or powder, she will be asked to cleanse herself prior to the study.

Should I expect being called back for extra views?
Any time there is a suspicious finding on a mammogram, the patient is called back for further images. Usually these suspicious findings are found to be insignificant. Occasionally, further evaluation with sonography may be needed. Please do not be alarmed if you are called back for additional images. The results of any additional images or ultrasound will be discussed with you at your follow-up appointment.

Why would the radiologist order a follow-up mammogram in six months, rather than a year?
If you have a condition that appears benign, our radiologists may recommend a six-month follow-up examination to ensure stability.

What is a baseline mammogram?
A baseline mammogram is the set of images used as the basis for comparison for later mammograms. Previous mammograms from outside offices are necessary to assist the interpretation of current or future mammograms.

When will I know the results of my mammogram/CAD?
Once your exam is complete, a board-certified radiologist at Westfield Imaging Center will review the mammogram/CAD. The radiologist will interpret the mammogram/CAD and provide a report to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours.

If you have any additional questions, please call us or your doctor.