Frequently Asked Questions

1.      What is a screening mammogram?

A screening mammogram is used as your baseline study and is used for women who are presently not experiencing any breast-related issues.   Most insurance carriers cover an annual mammogram for women beginning at the age of 40.  If you are under 40 and have a family history of breast cancer talk to your doctor about when to start getting mammograms or other tests, and how often to have them.

2.       What is a diagnostic mammogram?

If your screening mammogram found a breast change, or if a lump was found that needs to be checked, you may have a diagnostic mammogram.  During a diagnostic mammogram, more x-ray pictures are taken to get views of the breast tissue from different angles.   A diagnostic mammogram requires a written order from your healthcare provider and results are read by the radiologist while you wait.   A diagnostic mammogram is considered a separate exam, and is not part of your screening mammogram.

3.       What should I expect during my mammogram visit?

Your breasts will be pressed between 2 plastic plates in at least two views.  These plates flatten the breast tissue so that a good picture is taken. This will not harm the breast.  Although it may be uncomfortable, it should not hurt.  Be sure to tell the technologist if the pressure becomes painful. 

4.       How should I prepare for my mammogram?

Do not wear powder, deodorant, or lotion under your arms or on your breasts the day of the exam.  Particles can show up as debris on the images. You may also find it helpful to schedule your mammogram early in your menstrual cycle, after your period, to reduce discomfort.  If you changed facilities for your mammogram, please obtain your old films for comparison prior to your appointment.  It is important that new images be compared to old, as this provides a more accurate assessment of any breast changes.  The Women's Center for Wellness can assist you in making this request.

5.       The radiologists is recommending additional studies.  What does 
          this mean?

After your mammogram has been interpreted by the radiologist, there is always the possibility that you may need to be recalled for additional imaging.  This is quite common and in the vast majority of cases there is no suspicion of breast cancer.  Further testing is often necessary to see an area of breast tissue in better detail or to evaluate cystic breast changes.  An additional study may be a diagnostic mammogram (see above), a breast ultrasound, or other imaging procedures.  We understand that this is unsettling, but it is always done with your best interest in mind.

6.       Are the additional studies including ultrasound and diagnostic
          mammogram included as part of my annual screening.

No, these are considered separate exams.  These visits may be subject to your deductible and/or co-insurance, depending on your insurance plan.  It is always best to check with your insurance provider as to your financial obligations.  

7.        I received two bills for my mammogram appointment. 
           Is this correct?

Yes, there are two bills for your mammogram.  ECHN charges for the technical component of your mammogram.  If you have questions on this portion of the bill, please call us at (860) 872-5151. 

The Radiologists who read and interpret your films bill for the professional component of your mammogram.  If you have questions about a bill that comes from Eastern Connecticut Imaging, please call them at (860) 643-8314.

8.       What is a Stereotactic Biopsy? 

A Stereotactic Breast Biopsy uses an xray to find the location of the tissue to be sampled.  During this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the breast.  Samples of tissue are then removed and sent to a laboratory for diagnosis.  This procedures lasts about 1 hour and is considered an outpatient procedure.  Stereotactic Breast Biopsy is a common, safe procedure.  Please inform your physician if you are taking any blood thinners prior to scheduling this type of procedure. 

9.       What is an Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy?

An Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy uses ultrasound to find the area of tissue to be sampled.  During this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the breast.  Samples of tissue are then removed and sent to a laboratory for diagnosis. This procedures lasts about 45 minutes and is considered an outpatient procedure. Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy is a common, safe procedure. Please inform your physician if you are taking any blood thinners prior to scheduling this type of procedure.  

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