Breast Imaging & Mammography

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a medical imaging exam that uses a low-dose x-ray to obtain images of breast tissue. Mammography is the most effective method of early breast cancer detection.

What should I bring to my appointment?
  • Your insurance card and a valid photo ID.

Please arrive 15 minutes early to complete registration.

How should I prepare for my exam?
  • Schedule your clinical (physical) breast exam prior to your mammogram.
  • Schedule your mammogram the week following your period.
  • If you have breast tenderness, take a mild pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) about one hour before your scheduled mammogram. If caffeine causes breast tenderness, refrain from caffeinated beverages for one week prior to your mammogram. 
  • Do not wear deodorant, lotion or body powder on your chest or underarm areas on the day of your appointment. These can appear on the mammogram images as calcium spots. 
  • Please inform us if there is a possibility that you may be pregnant.
How long will my exam take?

A mammogram typically takes 20-30 minutes.

What happens during my exam?

The technologist will position one of your breasts between two plates, which will gradually compress for each image. This may cause discomfort, but you should not experience significant pain. The process will be repeated for your other breast. For the best quality images, you will be asked to remain as still as possible during the exam.

What happens after my exam?

Your images will be interpreted by one of our board-certified breast imaging radiologists.
The findings will be sent to your healthcare provider who will then contact you to discuss the results. We will also mail you a letter with your results.


Dr. Sue Crook reviews a digital screening mammogram.

In certain circumstances, you may need further diagnostic evaluation, such as a diagnostic mammogram or an ultrasound. This does not necessarily indicate an abnormality was found or that your mammogram was not properly obtained, but that additional images are needed to ensure all breast tissue is fully evaluated.

What locations offer mammograms?
What you should know about breast density

Effective August 1, 2014, a new law by the Minnesota State Legislature requires all Minnesota mammography facilities to report breast density to patients with dense breasts. For more information on breast density, please view our patient handout.

For more information:
Download the patient brochure

Download the breast density patient brochure 


If you are anxious or nervous about getting a mammogram, please watch this short video with four tips for a pain free mammogram.

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