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What To Expect In a Diagnostic Mammogram

What Is a Diagnostic Mammogram?

A diagnostic mammogram is used to evaluate abnormalities detected on a screening mammogram or because of special circumstances.

Why Is It Done?

A diagnostic mammogram is an X-ray test used to diagnose unusual breast changes, such as a lump, pain, nipple discharge, change in breast size or shape or previous breast cancer. If your screening mammogram does show an abnormality, you may need additional imaging like a diagnostic mammogram.

How Is It Done?

A diagnostic mammogram differs from a screening mammography in that additional views of the breast are taken. One at a time, your breasts will be positioned on a flat plate that will acquire the image. Another plate compresses your breast tissue.

Very firm compression is needed to obtain high quality pictures. You may be asked to lift your arm or use your hand to hold your other breast out of the way.

How Does a Diagnostic Mammogram Feel?

The X-ray plate will feel cold when you place your breast on it. Having your breasts flattened and squeezed is usually uncomfortable. However, it is necessary to flatten out the breast tissue to obtain the best images.

What Happens After the Diagnostic Mammogram?

A radiologist will interpret your exam because the technologist who administers the test cannot interpret or discuss what they are viewing while performing the exam. A report will be sent to your doctor's office to discuss results.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment at a Memorial Hermann Breast Care Center or Memorial Hermann Imaging Center, call (877) 704-8700.