X-rays do not cause short-term health complications. But radiation doses may build up in the body over time. The more x-rays you have the more radiation there will be. This can raise the risk of some cancers or thyroid problems. The risk is higher in children and women who could get or are pregnant.
Lead safety shields are used during x-rays. They help lower the amount of radiation to the body.
Pregnant women should talk to their doctors about the risks of having a mammogram.
What to Expect
Prior to Test
The care team may meet with you to talk about:
Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take
Scheduling the exam a week after your period when breast tissue is least tender
Not using deodorant, powder, lotion, or perfume near your breasts or under your arms before the test
Certain people may be given a skin numbing product to ease pain. This is not common and can cause side effects.
Description of Test
You will stand in front of a special x-ray machine. It has a platform to place your breast on. The technician will adjust the height of the platform. One breast will be lifted and placed between special plates that hold film. The plate is brought close to the platform and compresses the breast. The exam will cause some discomfort. Tell the technician if you feel any pain.
At least two pictures of each breast are taken. For one picture, you face toward the platform and the image is taken looking down at the breast. For a second picture, you stand beside the machine for a side view. Extra images may be needed if you have implants. Your doctor may also need more images if this test is being used to help make a diagnosis.
How Long Will It Take?
30 to 45 minutes
Will It Hurt?
You will not feel pain after the test.
The images will be studied. A report will be sent to your doctor. Your doctor will talk to you about the results and any further tests or treatment.
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you have breast symptoms that worsen.
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