Breast Care Exams

At St. Joseph’s Imaging Associates, we believe annual, quality mammograms are the cornerstone of breast health. By continuously offering compassionate care combined with the most advanced equipment available. Our breast imaging radiologists are clinical experts doing as much to prevent breast cancer as they do to treat it and are a vital part of any woman’s complete breast health. Breast imaging specialist and interventional radiologists work hand in hand daily with breast surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, OBGYNs, family practitioners, and more. They utilize a variety of procedures, depending on a patient’s needs. Breast imaging examinations/procedures include mammography, 3D mammography, ultrasound, MRI, breast biopsy, and breast needle localization.

Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography)

We’re proud to expand our service offerings to include tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography—the newest and most advanced technology in breast cancer detection.

An optional service for mammography patients, tomosynthesis can offer better visualization for radiologists who are helping certain groups of patients— particularly those with dense breasts. This improvement in visualization can result in fewer callbacks and, thus, less anxiety for patients.

This exam is performed at the same time as a traditional 2D mammogram; a second set of images is obtained to create a 3D image of the breast, allowing the radiologist to evaluate the breast tissue one “slice” at a time.

All women may benefit from tomosynthesis; however, there is an increased benefit to women with dense breast tissue because dense breast tissue may look similar to cancer tissue. Fine details are more clearly visible on a 3D mammogram. With a 2D mammogram, details can be hidden by the tissue above and below. With 3D, those obstructions are minimized and breast abnormalities such as masses, distortion and asymmetric densities may be seen more clearly.

We’re thrilled to be able to offer tomosynthesis to our patients, but it’s important to remember that 2D digital mammography remains the gold standard for early detection and has been proven to reduce mortality from breast cancer in all age groups starting at age 40. There is no preparation for this exam.

This exam is performed ONLY at our North, West, and Northeast locations.

Digital Mammography

A mammogram is special low-dose X-ray of the breast. Our radiologist uses the images to detect breast cancer, ideally as early as two years before a lump can be felt. Digital mammography has become the gold standard for breast cancer screening and is one of the most recent advances for breast cancer detection. 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 mammographies every year for women, beginning at age 40.

Request your digital mammogram for all the right reasons:

  • A digital mammography exam usually takes less than half the time of traditional film-based exam, and there’s less of a chance you’ll be called back to retake your images.
  • Your physician will gain viewing options never before possible with the unique ability to enhance certain areas to get a more precise picture of your condition.
  • Your breast images can be zoomed in and out, and the contrast can be lightened or darkened. Also, through an inverting feature, black can reverse to white and white can change to black. This feature helps detect microcalcifications, which is like revealing a grain of salt in a ball of clay. All these image enhancements help improve diagnostic potential – and can be accomplished without your presence in the room.
  • Digital images give better visibility of the breast, particularly near the skin line, chest wall and in women with dense breast tissue. Also, digital images are helpful for women with implants and for imaging patients with known abnormalities.

Screening Mammogram
If performed annually as recommended, screening mammography is the key to detecting breast cancer early and saving lives. Women who are 40 years of age and older with no symptoms of breast disease should schedule their screening mammogram appointments annually.
A physician referral is not required for this exam, however, the physician can request that the patient be seen in office prior to
the exam.

Diagnostic Mammogram
While a screening mammogram is encouraged each year for women who do not have significant breast symptoms, a physician may order a diagnostic mammogram if the patient is experiencing a worrisome lump, changes in the breast skin, pain, nipple discharge, or if they have a personal history of breast cancer. Diagnostic mammography may also be performed if the screening mammogram demonstrates a possible abnormality. The type and number of mammographic views taken will be customized to the patient’s situation. A diagnostic mammogram is not considered a preventive care service by most insurance companies. This exam may be subject to deductibles and co-insurance, so we suggest the patient contact their insurance provider with coverage questions. There is no preparation for
this exam.

These exams are performed at all of our locations.

Breast Ultrasound

If an area of concern is identified on your mammogram or if you feel a lump that cannot be localized on your mammogram, you may be referred for an ultrasound of the area in question. Gel is applied to the area to be scanned and a transducer is passed gently over the skin. Sound waves are reflected off the internal structure of your breast to reconstruct an image on a computer. This image will assist the Radiologist in identifying abnormalities.

There is no preparation for this exam.

Ductogram

Ductograms are performed on patients with active nipple discharge. The breast will be manipulated to produce the discharge in the examination room, thereby identifying the specific duct. A needle is then inserted into the duct and contrast material is injected. Mammography images are then taken as the contrast material will highlight the specific duct and assist the radiologist in identifying abnormalities.

There is no preparation for this exam, however, there needs to be active discharge.

Fine Needle Aspiration

Biopsies are the only definitive way to confirm if breast tissue is benign or cancerous. Abnormalities are examined further by having a sample of tissue, cells or fluid extracted for evaluation in a laboratory. We may perform this by vacuum assisted biopsy, core biopsy or fine needle aspiration.

A local anesthetic will first be administered to numb the area. During the procedure, a very thin needle is inserted into the breast with a syringe to remove fluid from a cyst within the breast. The fluid is then sent to a lab for analysis.

Sentinel Node Injection

Biopsies are the only definitive way to confirm if breast tissue is benign or cancerous. Abnormalities are examined further by having a sample of tissue, cells or fluid extracted for evaluation in a laboratory.

This procedure is also done the day of surgery and is used to help identify the sentinel lymph node, which is the first lymph node to which cancer cells are likely to spread from the primary tumor. Radioactive tracer will be injected into the skin near the areola.

Vacuum Assisted Biopsy / Core Biopsy

Biopsies are the only definitive way to confirm if breast tissue is benign or cancerous. Abnormalities are examined further by having a sample of tissue, cells or fluid extracted for evaluation in a laboratory.

The area of the breast will be numbed and a small incision will be made. A hollow needle will be inserted into the nodule and three small samples will be removed via a small vacuum. The samples are sent to a lab for analysis.

There are some medication modifications required for these exams. Please call our Interventional Scheduling Department at (315) 362-8346 to discuss with one of our specialists.

Needle Localization

Biopsies are the only definitive way to confirm if breast tissue is benign or cancerous. Abnormalities are examined further by having a sample of tissue, cells or fluid extracted for evaluation in a laboratory.

If you will be having surgical removal in an operating room we will “localize” the area for your surgeon. Mammographic images or ultrasound guidance will be performed to identify the exact location of the area to be biopsied. When this has been completed, the radiologist will insert a needle into the breast, into the lesion/nodule. Additional mammographic images will then be obtained to verify the needle is in satisfactory position for you to proceed to the operating room for surgical removal of the area.