Women's Imaging

Delaney Radiologists Group is dedicated to Women’s Health. In addition to providing state-of-the-art breast imaging and diagnosis for over twenty years, we have long been leaders in the community, with key involvement in activities of the American Cancer Society, Pink Ribbon Campaign, New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation, and the Susan B. Komen Foundation. We are proud sponsors of the new Women and Children’s Pavilion of New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

We are accredited by the American College of Radiology in Mammography, Pelvic and Breast Ultrasonography, and MRI.

Our imaging technologists are specially trained and certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technology or American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography in their particular areas of expertise, whether in mammography or sonography. All of our radiologists are certified by the American Board of Radiology, and maintain continuing medical education in the latest knowledge and techniques of breast diagnosis.


Digital Mammography

What is Mammography?

A mammogram is an examination of the breasts using low dose x-rays. Mammography is considered the single most effective tool for early breast cancer detection. Most medical experts agree that successful treatment of breast cancer is linked to early diagnosis. Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancer because it can show evidence of a cancer months or years before a woman or her doctor can feel a tumor within the breast on physical exam.

Extending our breast imaging capabilities further, tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, was implemented in September 2016. This add on feature utilizes advanced technology to produce a 3D image of the breast by acquiring multiple slices through the tissue during the digital 2D mammogram. Breast tomography, in addition to computer-aided detection, or CAD, offers patients the improved ability to find small cancers and better define larger tumors that may be obscured by dense tissue on conventional 2D mammograms.

What are the advantages of 3D Digital Mammography and CAD?

  • The advanced technology of 3D digital mammography makes for more accurate detection of breast cancers, especially in women with dense breasts.
  • A study in the American Journal of Radiology showed that tomosynthesis has improved detection of invasive aggressive breast cancers up to 41%, with a 29% increase in the detection of all breast cancers. In addition, there is a 15% decrease in patients recalled for additional mammographic imaging, further serving to decrease patient anxiety.
  • Computer-aided detection, or CAD, is integrated into the mammography review software, and provides instant analysis of the images, highlighting areas of possible abnormal calcification, mass, density or architecture.

How often should I have a mammogram?

Current guidelines from the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammography every year for women beginning at age 40. 

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends that women who have had breast cancer and those who are at increased risk due to a family history of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and about the frequency of screening.

Isn’t the radiation from a mammogram dangerous?

Current mammographic techniques (including tomography) use very low-dose radiation. Our equipment undergoes rigorous daily, weekly, monthly, and annual testing to insure optimal performance. There is no scientific evidence that having regular mammograms increases your risk of developing a breast cancer. The proven and possibly life-saving benefit of early breast cancer detection that mammography provides greatly outweighs any very small theoretical risk from radiation.

When should I schedule my mammogram?

Generally, the best time is the week following your menstrual period. Avoid scheduling your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. Always inform your x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant. Before scheduling a mammogram, you should discuss any current breast problems with your doctor. In addition, inform your doctor of hormone use, any prior surgeries, and family or personal history of breast cancer.

How should I prepare for a screening mammogram?

On the day of the exam:

  • Do not wear lotion, deodorant, or powder under your arms or on your breasts. These can produce artifacts on the mammograms that may simulate disease.
  • Describe any problems you’re experiencing with your breasts with your technologist.
  • Remove all jewelry and clothing from the waist up. You will be given a gown that opens in the front.

What can I expect during the procedure?

A radiologic technologist (a woman specializing in mammographic imaging) will position you standing near the machine and your breast will be placed on a contoured platform and compressed with contoured translucent plastic plate. Breast compression is necessary in order to:

  • Even out the breast thickness so that all of the tissue can be visualized.
  • Spread out the tissue so that small abnormalities won't be obscured.
  • Allow use of a lower x-ray dose.
  • Hold the breast still to eliminate blurring of the image caused by motion.

The technologist will go behind a glass shield while making the x-ray exposure. You will be asked to change positions slightly between views. The process is repeated for the other breast. Routine views are a top-to-bottom and side view of each breast. During the 3D procedure, the X-ray tube moves in an arc around the compressed breast, capturing nine images that are used to create a detailed, layer-by-layer view of the tissue.

What will I experience during the procedure?

The exam usually takes about 15 minutes altogether. The technologist will compress the breast only during the time immediately before and during x-ray exposure. Our technologists are highly experienced and understand the need to balance patient comfort with optimal image quality. Let the technologist know if you are experiencing more discomfort than you can tolerate. We compress because we care!

Who will read my mammogram?

Your mammogram will be read by one of our highly experienced radiologists. All of our radiologists are certified by the American Board of Radiology, have received special training in digital mammography including 3D imaging, read a large volume of mammograms annually, undergo annual performance audits, and remain at the forefront of breast imaging through continuing medical education specific to breast imaging and disease.

When and how will I find out the results of my mammogram?

Delaney Radiologists will send you a letter written in clear language detailing the results. We also send the radiologist’s comprehensive medical report to your physician. The vast majority of women receive a negative or normal report. You may receive a letter indicating that the radiologist has seen something that is clearly benign, such as a cyst. Sometimes we want to see you back before another year, such as a six-month follow-up mammogram of one breast or an ultrasound exam. It is not unusual to be called back within a few days of your mammogram with a request that you return for additional mammograms or an ultrasound exam of the breast. The great majority of such “call-backs” prove to be negative or confirmatory of benign findings such as cysts, benign calcifications, or lymph nodes, so if you get a call from us, please don’t panic!

If our radiologists see a significant or suspicious finding that will require further analysis with imaging or a biopsy, we follow-up and track your progress to insure that a final diagnosis is established.