Radiology Terms


What is a mammogram?

A mammogram (or mammography) is an X-ray image of the breast used to screen for and diagnose breast tumors. 

During a mammogram, breasts are compressed between two plates to spread the breast tissue while an X-ray captures images. Mammograms can show abnormalities such as masses, microcalcifications, asymmetries and distortions. Before breast cancer can be diagnosed, doctors will determine if a patient needs a follow-up exam in the form of a biopsy or further testing. Conventional mammogram machines create a two-dimensional image of the breast, but some imaging facilities now offer digital or 3D mammograms, referred to as digital breast tomosynthesis exams.