Download/print the tomo (3D) annual screening mammography FAQ sheet 


Tomo (3D) and standard 2D mammography provide accurate results. If you would like your annual screening mammogram to include tomo,request 3D when scheduling your appointment.

What is a tomo (3D) mammogram?

Tomosynthesis, also known as tomo or 3D, is an advanced type of mammogram that uses the same x-ray technology as standard 2D mammograms. In 3D exams, the camera moves in an arc over the breast, taking images from various angles. This type of exam provides images of breast tissue in layers, making it easier to find abnormalities.

What are the benefits of tomo (3D) mammography?

• Higher cancer detection rate. 
• Decreased need for additional testing.
• More accurate – finds on average 20-65% more invasive cancers than standard mammography alone.
• FDA approved.

Who should have a tomo (3D) mammogram?

A tomo (3D) exam is more accurate for women of all ages, with both dense and non-dense breasts.

What should I expect during my tomo (3D) mammogram?

The process of a tomo (3D) exam is the same as a standard 2D exam. The technologist will position you, compress your breast, and take images from different angles. There’s no additional compression required with a tomo (3D) exam, and it only takes a few extra seconds.

How does tomo (3D) mammography work?

A tomo (3D) exam allows the radiologist (physician) to examine your breast tissue layer by layer. So, instead of viewing all of the complexities of your breast tissue one image at a time, as with standard 2D mammography, details are more visible and no longer hidden by the tissue above or below.

What are the differences between 2D and 3D mammograms?

2D mammogram:

  • Is the current standard of care.
  • Uses x-rays to create two-dimensional, flat images.
    • Takes images from the top and side of your breast. 
    • Has the potential for breast tissues to overlap during compression, giving an abnormal appearance.
    • If your mammogram appears abnormal, you will need additional imaging; 10% of women who have 2D mammograms will be called back.
  • Most insurances cover the cost of an annual 2D screening mammogram.  


3D Mammogram:

  • Is recommended for women with dense breast tissue; however, the exam is beneficial regardless of breast density.
  • Uses x-rays to create three-dimensional (3D) images.
    • The camera moves in an arc over your breast, taking multiple images
    • Less potential for tissues to overlap and appear abnormal.
    • You are less likely to be called back for additional mammogram images because of the 3D technology.
  • There may be an out-of-pocket cost for this exam, depending on your insurance plan.

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