This is a brief description to help you understand the scheduling and methods of breast diagnostics.
There are different methods used in the breast imaging depending on the indication of the examination and age of the patient. In patients above 35 years of age mammography is the primary diagnostic method provided the last mammography examination was done 1.5 to 2 years ago. In mammography the breast is compressed between to flat plexiglass plates and two images in different views for each breast are taken - one image projecting the breast tissue from above downwards (craniocaudal) and the other from inside out (mediolateral).
Because mammography is a projection method, two views from different angles are important for exact localisation of pathological lesions. Which means that the radiologist must be able to say where the pathological breast lesions are located - medial or lateral, up or down. The compression of the breast in the hands of an experienced technical assistant might be a bit uncomfortable but usually without any severe pain. The advantages compressions are mainly reduced radiation dose and good quality images without motion artefacts. Improper compression leads to significant reduction in the image quality due to motion artefacts and also increases the radiation exposure. In other words, correct compression of breast is necessary in mammography in order to make appropriate diagnosis. The mammography machines used in our institute measures the compression pressure in order to standardise the extent of compression. The compression is automatically released after the images have been obtained (see Image 1-3). The compression is obviously done under strict supervision of assistant. In case an additional image needs to be obtained (in addition to usual four), there is nothing to be alarmed about. As mentioned above mammography is a projection method and in rare cases additional projections like magnified image in cases of overlapping to confirm findings. This does not always mean that a suspicious lesion has been detected.
The quality control of the mammography machines and developments are certified by Fa. GQ Med- on a yearly basis in addition to the weekly and daily quality maintenance measures. Moreover the MTRA (radiographers) working at the department are highly trained in mammography examinations. The reporting is done by two radiologists experienced in mammography and in cases of conflicting views in consultation with another radiologist.
In patients below 35 years of age, the primary methods are clinical examination and ultrasound examination. The reason is that the radiation exposure in this age group is higher due to too many dense breast tissue and the information obtained is thereby reduced. Mammography can be avoided in cases of definite benign findings in this age group. For ultrasound a special gel is required to remove the air between the body surface and the probe. The patient lays on her back on examination table with her hands under her head. The examination is done without compression and is painless. After examination of the breasts the arm pits are examined.
One might have to wait for some time between the mammography and ultrasound examination or also before the performance of ultrasound because films of your mammography and also the other patients need to be developed, there are also other patients for ultrasound examination, operative images for the gynaecology department need to be developed and many other unavoidable situations. We request for your patience and understanding for this waiting time and request you in the mean time to read through the palpation model brochure (Tastmodell) which is available at the reception to practice self examination.
In the model the breast nodules are shown the way they tend to appear in a female breast.
Moreover you can also participate in a course - "Mamma-Care" or "Breast-Care" - for palpation of breast nodules in the department of gynaecology, building 15. A brochure to this regard is also available at the reception. Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask our team members.
"Women´s Health" Team