Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Patient Care - Breast Care Center Imaging Department

Patient Care - Breast Care Center Imaging Department

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

» Do I need an appointment?
» Where do I check in?
» What is a screening mammogram?
» What is a diagnostic mammogram?
» What is a breast ultrasound?
» What is a digital mammogram?
» How should I prepare for the procedure?
» What will I experience during the procedure?


Do I need an appointment?

A mammogram and other Imaging Department procedures require a written order from your physician and you must call for an appointment. If you have this order, please be sure to bring it with you for your study. The physician’s office can also fax the order to us.

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Where do I check in?

The department is located at 6550 Fannin Street in the Smith Tower, Suite 701. Check in 10 – 15 minutes before the time of your appointment.

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What is a screening mammogram?

A screening mammogram is an annual or baseline study for asymptomatic patients with no signs or personal diagnosis of breast cancer. The exam takes approximately 30 minutes. If the radiologist who interprets your films detects any change or concerns on your study, you will be contacted to schedule additional imaging.

If you have received a letter concerning additional imaging but have not been contacted by phone, please call 713-798-4484 to schedule an appointment. There may be a three or four week wait for a diagnostic appointment. If you are asked to return, please do not be alarmed. Additional evaluation is not uncommon and most such findings are benign (non-cancerous).

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What is a diagnostic mammogram?

A diagnostic mammogram is performed to diagnose specific symptoms or to further evaluate a change detected on a screening mammogram. The exam usually includes specialty views called spot magnification.

In some cases, an ultrasound may be requested for further evaluation. This test will be performed during the diagnostic mammogram if necessary. A diagnostic study may take 45 minutes to 2 hours. Each patient’s exam is customized to collect the images required by the radiologist to make a diagnosis.

You will receive a letter with your study results within 14 days and your physician will receive the complete report. Depending on the results, the radiologist may determine a need for further tests and recommend any of the following: Breast MRI, Stereotactic Biopsy, Ultrasound Biopsy or Cyst Aspiration.

Any of these further studies will require an order from your physician. A nurse in the Breast Care Center Imaging Department will contact you if a biopsy needs to be scheduled once the physician order is received.

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What is a breast ultrasound?

A breast ultrasound helps your radiologist determine if a lump or a mass is filled with fluid or is solid tissue. Masses that are clearly filled with fluid are called cysts and are usually not cancerous. If a lump is thought to be solid, a biopsy will often be needed to make a final diagnosis. This is a painless procedure during which gel and a transducer are used on the breast.

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What is a digital mammogram?

A digital mammogram takes the x-ray of the breast and captures it on a computer. Studies show that digital mammography is superior to conventional film mammography, especially for women with dense breasts.

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How should I prepare for a mammogram?

  • If you have your physician’s order for the mammogram, please bring it with you.
  • Confirm that you are registered for your mammogram. If you do not receive a call from patient registration, call 713-394-6805 prior to the appointment.
  • Bring your driver’s license and insurance card for registration.
  • Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or body powder on the day of your exam.
  • Do not wear unnecessary jewelry such as large earrings and necklaces.
  • Bring or send any mammograms that you have had at a different facility.
  • Bring addresses and fax numbers of additional physicians who should receive the results, not including the physician who ordered the exam.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit, if possible.
  • Do not bring small children. Arrange for childcare during the time of your appointment.
  • If you have developed a breast problem or complaint since scheduling your appointment, call 713-798-4484 in order to reschedule your appointment.

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What will I experience during a mammogram?

A mammogram involves compression. If you have sensitive breasts, avoid scheduling the mammogram during the week before your period when breasts are most sensitive. Your technologist will listen and work with you to find a tolerable degree of compression.

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