3D Digital Mammography

3D Digital Mammography: Your Peace of Mind

Breast cancer screening in southwest Wisconsin recently took a giant leap forward with the addition of revolutionary 3D digital mammography technology at Southwest Health. The new 3D breast imaging system –the first in southwest Wisconsin—produces three-dimensional views of breast tissue and helps doctors more accurately identify and classify breast tissue structures to better diagnose breast cancer and save lives.

What is 3D Mammography?

3D Mammography (Breast Tomosynthesis) is an advanced type of mammogram that can offer better cancer detection, fewer callbacks, and greater peace of mind. 3D technology has been shown to detect small breast cancers up to 15 months earlier than traditional technology.

“Imagine you’re looking at a closed book. You can’t read the words inside. That’s what traditional mammography shows us. Now imagine you can open to book, flip the pages, and zero in on the words on every page. That’s the difference that 3D Digital mammography gives us,” says JoAnn Geissbuhler, Director of Radiology at Southwest Health.

What are the Benefits?

  • Earlier detection of small breast cancers that may be hidden during digital mammography
  • Greater accuracy in pinpointing the size, shape, and location of abnormalities
  • Fewer unnecessary biopsies or additional tests
  • Greater likelihood of detecting multiple breast tumors, which occur in 15% of breast cancer patients
  • Clearer images of dense breast tissue

Is 3D mammography safe?

YES! Radiation exposure to the breast is very low. The radiation dose for a combined 2D/3D mammography exam is well below the acceptable limits defined by the FDA. It is only a fraction of the level of radiation everyone receives annually from the natural background of being outdoors. There is no evidence that this low level of radiation has any significant effect on the breasts.

What can you expect during your Mammogram?

You will be positioned just like you were for a traditional 2D mammogram. During the 3D part of the exam, an x-ray arm sweeps over the breast, taking multiple images in seconds. No additional breast compression is required, and it only takes a few more seconds. The experience will be very similar to mammograms patients have had.

Will my Insurance pay for it?

Typically, insurance coverage includes an annual mammogram. If you have questions, contact your insurance company directly. 

Southwest Health partners with the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, a statewide program that offers mammograms at no cost to individuals who meet a few guidelines. Do you need help getting a mammogram? For more information, call (608) 847-9455 or toll-free 1-866-735-9616 or visit their website at https://www.co.juneau.wi.gov/wi-well-woman.html.

Can I have a 3D Mammogram?

Southwest Health takes pride in being one of the first facilities to offer 3D mammograms. These exams are now part of our standard of care, so all women may have the benefit when having their mammogram. Southwest Health also offers appointments after 4 pm one day a week, allowing more women to screen without taking off of work.

The Advantages of Digital Mammography

Mammograms, particularly the standard film mammogram, are not perfect. Dense breast tissue and malignant cells appear white on a film mammogram so that many early-stage breast cancers can be concealed by adjacent dense breast tissue. That produces a “false negative” result, meaning cancer can go undetected.

Digital mammography offers a marked improvement over traditional film mammography in several ways.

  • Studies show it’s a significantly better diagnostic tool for detecting breast cancer, especially for women younger than 50, with dense breasts, and premenopausal women.
  • Digital images help doctors make accurate diagnoses. Doctors view the images electronically on a computer monitor, magnifying them and adjusting brightness and contrast on a high-resolution display. This extra control makes it easier to see subtle differences in breast tissue and diagnose cancer more accurately.
  • The need for additional unscheduled mammograms is greatly reduced because doctors have the advanced digital tools necessary to study digital mammograms in such detail.
  • Patients receive quicker results than with traditional mammography. Since images are captured to digital files the instant they are created, doctors can turn around results in hours or days instead of weeks. This can be especially comforting to women who may be awaiting mammogram results on a lump detected as part of a clinical or self-exam.
  • Files are not in danger of being lost or having poor image quality. Digital mammograms are stored as electronic files that can be transmitted to other healthcare providers while retaining a copy at SH. Unlike traditional mammograms, there’s never a chance mammograms can get lost in transit.

Visit the Women’s Health site for more information about breast cancer screening guidelines.

Talk to your doctor about scheduling a digital mammogram at Southwest Health today.

Mammography Hours

Mon, Wed, Fri

First appt – 7:15am
Last appt – 3:30pm

Tues, Thurs

First appt – 6:45am
Last appt – 6:15pm


First appt – 6:45am
Last appt – 3:30pm