Diagnostic mammograms save lives
When you or your doctor notices a change in your breast health, you want immediate care from an experienced team. Our imaging centers offer advanced diagnostic mammography technology, including 3D mammography, to help you get the answers you need, when and where you need them.
A diagnostic mammogram can help detect various breast conditions, from breast cysts to breast cancer. But most of the time, diagnostic mammograms don’t find any additional areas of concern. If you need more care after your test, our complete breast care program gives you access to resources and guidance for your next steps.
What is a diagnostic mammogram?
A diagnostic mammogram uses X-ray images to give your care team more details about your breast health. Only about 10% of diagnostic mammograms need to be followed by a breast biopsy to further investigate areas of concern.
Your healthcare provider may order a diagnostic mammogram as a follow-up to a screening mammogram or breast exam. You may also have a diagnostic mammogram if you have symptoms, such as:
- Breast lump
- Breast pain
- Breast rash or skin changes
- Nipple discharge
- Breast shape or size changes
Screening mammography vs. diagnostic mammography
Screening mammography offers a preventive step to check your health when you don’t have any breast symptoms. Diagnostic mammography is used when a screening mammogram shows something that needs additional imaging or when you have breast symptoms.
Diagnostic mammograms can help provide more information about a new breast symptom or area of concern, capture more detailed images of your breast and help determine if you need follow-up testing. They may require extra time because more images are taken.
How to prepare for a diagnostic mammogram
The process for getting a diagnostic mammogram is similar to having a screening mammogram. To help your test go as smoothly as possible, there are a few things you can do to prepare.
Before your mammogram
- Make sure the center has copies of any previous mammography images.
- Let the center know if you have breast implants, are breastfeeding or recently had a vaccine.
- Contact us with any questions.
On the day of your mammogram
- Follow your normal routine for eating and taking medications.
- Avoid using lotions, powders or deodorant in your underarms or breast area.
- Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit to undress from the waist up.
- Bring your ID and insurance card to your appointment.
Finding diagnostic mammography locations
We help you get care at a location that fits your needs. We offer several locations for your care, including mammogram centers in North and Central Texas.
Frequently asked questions
Why do I need a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound?
Diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds help your care team get more images and information about your breast symptoms or a specific area in your breast. Some normal breast features, like having dense breast tissue, may make it more likely that you’ll need a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound or other breast imaging.
Are diagnostic mammograms covered by insurance?
Your insurance may cover part of the cost of your diagnostic mammogram. However, your standard copays or deductibles may apply because it is not a screening mammogram. Check with your insurance provider for questions about your coverage.
What is the difference between a regular mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram?
Both annual screening and diagnostic mammograms take X-ray images of the breast tissue. But during a diagnostic mammogram, you’ll have more images taken, such as from different angles or to focus on specific areas of the breast.
These images give the radiologist a more detailed view of your breast tissue and help determine if your symptoms or areas of concern need additional testing.
How long does a diagnostic mammogram take?
A diagnostic mammogram can take up to an hour because it may include more images of the breast than a screening mammogram. The radiologist will provide results faster than a screening mammogram, often at the end of your appointment.
Why would a diagnostic mammogram be ordered?
There are three main reasons why your doctor might order a diagnostic mammogram:
- As a follow-up to a screening mammogram to get additional images
- After a clinical breast exam that finds a lump or other breast symptoms
- To check on a new breast symptom that you notice during a self-exam
Remember, a diagnostic mammogram is not a diagnosis of a condition. It simply gives your healthcare providers more information to guide your care.