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What You Need to Know About Digital Mammography

A screening mammogram creates a digital image. The image is created electronically and read on a computer screen. A digital mammogram works better at finding breast cancer than a traditional mammogram done with X-ray film in pre- and perimenopausal woman. Women in this age group tend to have denser breast tissue. This tissue is better assessed with a digital method. The traditional mammogram is called analog mammography. No matter the type of equipment used, don't skip your mammogram because a digital mammogram is not available. 

Digital technology offers several potential advantages over the current film method for mammography. Unlike film images, digital images:

  • Can be stored and transferred electronically

  • Are less likely to get lost

  • Can be manipulated to correct for underexposure or overexposure. This may prevent the need for another mammogram.

  • Allow radiologists to use software to help interpret or read them

  • Have a large dynamic range that allows examination of all areas of the breast, despite varying densities

  • Have a lower average radiation dose

Many of the mammography machines in use today are digital units. The process of getting a digital mammogram is just like a regular mammogram. In fact, the only way you may know what type you get is to ask the technologist working with you.

Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Neil Grossman MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2019
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