3D Mammography

A revolutionary new screening tool in the fight against breast cancer

What is 3D mammography (Tomosynthesis)?

ribbonlogo3D mammography, also known as breast tomosynthesis, is the newest advance in breast imaging designed to detect early breast cancer, and can be done in combination with a traditional digital mammogram. With 3D mammography, the X-ray tube moves over your breast in an arc during the exposure, acquiring multiple images from different angles. The result is a stack of thin 1mm “slices.” This technique provides greater visual detail of the breast tissue and allows the radiologist to scroll though the images as if flipping through the pages of a book.

What are the benefits of 3D mammograms?

In traditional 2D digital mammography, two images of each breast are taken from two angles—top to bottom and side to side—such that the radiologist is seeing all of your breast tissue in one image. Therefore, normal overlapping breast tissue can sometimes be perceived as an abnormality. With 3D mammography, by having multiple images of the breast from different angles in thin 1 mm slices, the radiologist can more accurately differentiate an abnormality from normal breast tissue. This leads to fewer patient callbacks for additional imaging, and, as a result, less anxiety.

The thinner slices obtained with 3D imaging also reveal more cancers earlier. Studies have shown that cancer detection with 3D mammography increases by about 25%. This technology helps find cancers early, when they are easiest to treat.


In a “conventional” 2D mammogram there appears to be an area of concern that the doctor may want to investigate further with another mammogram or biopsy. Looking at the same breast tissue in 3D “breast tomosynthesis” image slices, the doctor can now see that the tissue is in fact normal breast tissue that was overlapping in the traditional mammogram creating the illusion of an abnormal area. In this scenario this patient likely avoided a callback for an additional mammogram thanks to the tomosynthesis exam technology.

What should I expect during the 3D portion of the exam?

We perform 3D mammography using the Hologic Selenia Dimensions system. It is completed at the same time, and in the same way, as your standard mammogram. As with a mammogram, your breast will be compressed between two plates, and adding 3D imaging to the standard mammogram only adds a few extra seconds.

Who can get 3D mammograms?

3D mammograms can be performed on any woman who is getting a standard mammogram.

Does 3D mammography have a higher radiation dose?

Low-xray energy is used to acquire the images in both standard 2D mammography and 3D mammography. Although adding 3D imaging to the standard mammogram increases the radiation dose, it is still well within the FDA’s allowable standards.

Who reads my 3D mammogram study?

After you complete the study, a board certified radiologist with subspecialty training in breast imaging and 3D mammography will interpret the images. You will receive your results within a few days and a report will go to your physician.

Will my insurance pay for this exam?

Medicare and some insurance carriers have approved coverage for 3D mammography. You can contact your health insurance carrier directly to find out if this service is covered by your plan. If you are uninsured or out-of-network, our cash fee schedule is one of the lowest available.

How do I get one?

At Valley Radiology Imaging, our goal is to deliver the highest quality patient care possible, which is why we have added 3D Mammography to our breast imaging services. Our new breast imaging system from Hologic—a world leader in digital mammography—is one of the most exciting recent advancements in breast cancer detection.

3D Mammography is available at:

VRI Samaritan Women’s Imaging
2581 Samaritan Dr.
Suite 206
San Jose, CA

To schedule an appointment please call
(408) 358–6881 and select option 2.


The Valley Radiology difference.

All breast health centers are not the same. Accurate reading of a mammogram continues to be highly dependent on the training and experience of the radiologists and technologists performing it, as well as on having the most advanced mammography equipment. Each of our convenient centers provides the latest digital mammography equipment. We have a network of some of the top women's imaging specialists in the nation.