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A diagnostic mammogram is similar to a screening mammogram, however, additional x-rays are taken to examine breast tissue from multiple angles.
Diagnostic mammograms evaluate abnormalities identified on a screening mammogram and are also performed when breast symptoms (such as a lump) are present that have been found during breast self-exam or an annual physical with a healthcare provider.
When this type of mammogram is performed, a radiologist will interpret the results immediately in case additional tests are necessary. Additional tests may be performed the same day as your diagnostic mammogram or can be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you.
– Your insurance card and a valid photo i.d.
Please arrive 5-10 minutes early to complete registration.
If you have breast tenderness, take a mild pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) about one hour before your scheduled 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 artifacts.
Please inform us if there is a possibility that you may be pregnant.
Your breast will only be in compression a matter of seconds for each image taken, but please plan on 15-30 minutes for your diagnostic mammogram appointment. During this time, your technologist will update your medical record, perform the necessary imaging, and review your images with a radiologist.
The technologist will position your breast between a small platform and an acrylic paddle, which will gradually compress your breast for each image. A typical diagnostic exam consists of three to eight images. This may cause discomfort, but you should not experience significant pain. For the best quality images, you will be asked to remain as still as possible during the few seconds it takes to acquire the images.
Your images will be interpreted by one of our board-certified breast imaging radiologists. Same-day results will be provided to you after all diagnostic testing has been completed. We will also mail a letter with your results to your healthcare provider.
Insurance companies do bill differently for diagnostic tests compared to screening exams. Diagnostic exams are not part of your screening mammogram and are not considered preventative services by health insurance companies. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be responsible for a portion of the cost. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your insurance company to discuss your plan and coverage. Be sure to tell them your appointment is for “diagnostic” services.