Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Methodist Breast Center

Digital Mammography and Ultrasound

Mammogram Preparation

On the day of your mammogram, do not use any deodorant, powder, or lotion on or under your arms or on your breasts, as chemicals from these products may interfere with the mammogram reading.

The radiologist interpreting your mammogram will need to compare the results of your mammogram with any previous mammograms you have had. If you have had mammograms at another institution, you should arrange to bring those with you at the time of your appointment.

To schedule your mammogram at the Methodist Breast Center, call 713.441.PINK. We recommend calling several weeks in advance, to make sure that the day and time of your appointment will best suit your schedule.

Mammography

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray screening of the breast. It's the most valuable tool in early detection of breast cancer. A mammogram allows the radiologist to identify breast cancer before a lump or mass can even be felt. Earlier detection can mean higher success rates in treating breast cancer.

The Methodist Breast Center uses all-digital mammography — meaning that the images generated are digital, rather than on film. Digital mammography is considered more sensitive than traditional film-screen mammography. With digital mammography, the radiologist can magnify specific areas of the mammogram and adjust the contrast so abnormalities are easier to see.

The digital mammography we perform also includes computer-aided detection (CAD). CAD systems highlight abnormal areas of density, mass or calcification in a breast image to help alert the radiologist to the need for further analysis.

Types of Breast Imaging

Screening mammograms are conducted on a regular basis — usually every one to two years in women once they reach the age of 40. This study is performed for patients with no signs or symptoms of breast problems and no prior personal diagnosis of breast cancer. Two views of each breast are taken with compression used to minimize the amount of x-ray radiation that must be employed. Most patients experience little or no discomfort.

Diagnostic mammograms are used to investigate specific changes in the breast, such as a lump, a pain, nipple thickening or discharge, or a change in breast size or shape. A diagnostic mammogram may also be used to clarify the results of a screening mammogram.

Breast ultrasounds help to determine if a lump or mass in the breast is filled with fluid or is solid tissue. If the mass is filled with fluid, it is probably a cyst — and cysts are usually not a sign of cancer. If a breast ultrasound indicates that the mass is solid, a biopsy may be scheduled.

An ultrasound involves applying a gel to the breast and employing a transducer that emits ultrasound waves and receives their echoes. There is no compression, and most women find the procedure to be painless.