Tag Archives: mammograms

Better in 3D

For three decades, every few years, I have had a mammogram. I hate the procedure and I fight my doctor in going to get the exam done. One time I walked out of her office before she could come back with the orders. That was long ago when you had actual written orders. Now, the exam is ordered digitally. The lab will make a phone call for the actual appointment after receiving the digital orders, and sometimes I have even declined the appointment. Every five  years or so I give in and go, but I hate it. The procedure is lengthy and very painful.

My new doctor ordered a bone density test and when the call came from the lab that does it, I realized they also do mammograms so I agreed to have one done since I would already be there. It had been four years since either test had been made so I thought I could be tough and handle it. Monday was the appointment.

The bone density, of course, is very easy. I’ve had two before and yesterday’s was even easier as the equipment is more modern than 20 years ago. The first one I had, when I was 43, came back with the results of bones of a 25 year old. The one four years ago came back with the admonition not to fall. I guess lots can happen to our bones in 20 years.

When I moved over to the mammography area, I found that I would be getting a 3D mammogram. I had asked for one four years ago, at age 62, but was told my breast tissue didn’t call for that technology. Turns out, four years later, Medicare pays for 3D, so no matter the breast tissue, all of us little ol’ ladies get it.

What a difference. The procedure was very quick. Only two pictures of each breast, and there was no flattening, flattening, flattening which was the part I absolutely hated. With the old method I would have to wait for someone to look at the x-rays before I could get dressed and get out. The 3D is all digital and the technician sees the images as they are made. I was in and out of that room in less than 5 minutes.

I might even be willing to have these tests done on an annual basis since it’s gotten so much better. But, then again, I doubt it.