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.

Comparison with prior imaging is key to assessing for change and accurate diagnosis. Please bring a CD of your prior studies if your prior breast health studies were performed outside of Memorial Hermann. If you need us to request your prior films from another facility, please complete a medical release of information form and return it to our facility prior to your appointment. Once received, we will request the films.

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

For a diagnostic mammogram, you must obtain an order from your referring physician first. Once you have an order, you can schedule your diagnostic mammogram at the Memorial Hermann Breast Care Center or Memorial Hermann Imaging Center nearest you by calling (877) 40.MAMMO (62666).

A mother and her two daughters are gathered round the dining table working on different activities.

Mammogram Reminder

Early detection is the best defense against breast cancer, which is why Memorial Hermann can send you a reminder to schedule your annual screening mammogram.

Remind Me

Contact Us

Complete the form below to be connected to our Nurse Navigator – a dedicated registered nurse who specializes in breast health and is available to provide education and resources.


Thank you for contacting the Memorial Hermann Breast Care Nurse Navigator. We have received your inquiry, and a team member will contact you soon.

If you need more immediate assistance, please call us at (877) 704-8700.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.