A Wider Angle — and why it matters

In the 3D breast exam, tumors are revealed by imaging and displaying the breast in slices that separate the overlying tissue layers. The slices are reconstructed into a 3D volume for better depth and contrast resolution, and ultimately a better image than a stand-alone 2D exam.

Every degree matters because the angular range of the tomosynthesis system and the number of projections have a direct effect on the resulting 3D information.

Only Wide-angle Breast Tomosynthesis offers:

  • The widest angle of 50 degrees
  • An image acquisition every 2 degrees
  • A total of 25 images assembled into the 3D rendering

It’s an important distinction because a wider angle delivers superb geometry for separating the different tissue layers. The result? More 3D information for a more informed decision.

What to Know About Your Mammogram… and 3D Breast Tomosynthesis.

Early Detection: The first step toward healing One in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer—the most common form of cancer in women. Breast cancer does not present any symptoms during its early stages, when the tumor is still small and the risk of it spreading is significantly lower. Physicians recommend annual screening exams to detect cancer as soon as possible.

Screening Recommendations

The American College of Radiology recommends annual mammography screenings beginning at the age of 40 for women of average risk of developing breast cancer.

How to Prepare for Your 3D Mammogram:

  • Inform your doctor of any new findings or problems in your breasts and discuss family or personal history of
    breast cancer.
  • Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during
    this time. The best time is often one week following your period.
  • Always inform your doctor or X-ray technologist if there is a possibility that you may be pregnant.
  • Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots.
  • If possible, obtain prior mammograms and make them available to your radiologist at the time of the
    current exam.

What is 3D Mammography?

Mammography is a noninvasive imaging procedure that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine changes in breast tissue.

In the past, most exams were done on standard systems that produce 2D images of your breast tissue. Doctors would review the images to detect suspicious lesions or tumors. It was a challenge, because lesions are often hidden overlapping or dense layers of tissue.

This exam is different. It uses digital 3D mammogram (also known as breast tomosynthesis). Here’s what happens:

  • The X-ray tube of the system will sweep over your breast in a 50-degree arc.
  • An image is taken every two degrees for a total of 25 images (known as “slices”).
  • The slices are assembled into a 3D rendering, so your doctor can review your breast tissue one slice at a time.

How You Benefit from a Wider Scan Angle

Every degree matters when it comes to breast tomosynthesis. The wider the angle of your tomosynthesis scan, the more slices go into your 3D rendering. That means better tissue separation, and more information for your doctor to make a confident diagnosis.

During Your Mammogram

During a screening, the breast is positioned between the X-ray tube and a detector and, for a short time while the image is being taken, carefully pushed down with a compression plate. This is necessary in order to get a conclusive, high-quality image. The exam is tailored to each patient, with the machine stopping as soon as optimal breast compression is achieved.

Why do mammograms have to hurt?

Compression is a key to good mammograms. A flatter breast means more surface to take an image.

Our system automatically adjusts compression to the individual structure of your breast and selects the lowest radiation dose necessary for your breast characteristics. The paddle slows when it reaches your breast and stops fully when your optimal compression is reached. The result is a more comfortable exam.

Even the paddles are built for comfort, with soft edges and a breast-optimized shape that reduce pressure on your breasts during compression.


The images taken during the exam identify microcalcification, tiny calcium deposits which can be caused by harmless inflammation or which can indicate a growing, malignant tumor. Most breast tissue changes are benign and easy to treat, including benign breast lumps, which can be cysts filled with fluid or thick tissue caused by menstruation. Determining the kind of tumor (benign or malignant) and its progression is an important diagnostic step—and the basis for the best possible treatment.

What is dense breast tissue?

Your breasts are made up of several types of tissue – fibrous, glandular, and fatty. Dense breasts have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fatty tissue. Some women have denser breast tissue than others.

Though having dense breasts is normal, dense breast tissue is linked to greater risk of breast cancer. And, it makes it more difficult to spot tumors that can hide behind the dense tissue.

That’s why knowing your breast density is essential to good breast health.