A mammogram is performed using a specialised low dose X-Ray machine. The mammogram is done with the patient usually standing, and one breast at a time is placed on a clear plastic plate and is gently but firmly compressed by another plastic plate from above.
The plastic plates flatten the breast tissue to help to keep the breast still while the X-Ray is done. This helps to produce a better quality mammogram image. The machine and plates can be tilted to produce another mammogram image from a different projection or angle. Two images of each breast are usually produced.
Often an ultrasound scan of the breasts is also done in conjunction with the mammogram examination.
If possible it is best not to schedule your mammogram for the week before your menstrual period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time to schedule a mammogram is one week following your period. It is also recommended that you:
Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the mammogram examination.
Speak with the mammographer or the radiologist about any breast symptoms or problems.
If you have had previous mammograms, bring them along when you attend your appointment.