Mammography and breast tomosynthesis

What is mammography and breast tomosynthesis?

A mammogram is a low dose x-ray examination of the breast/s. Mammography plays an important part in early detection of breast cancer because it can show changes in the breast before you can feel them.

A breast tomosynthesis exam is very similar to a traditional mammogram, however it allows our radiologist to examine breast tissue in thin ‘layers’, which are typically one millimetre thick.

Breast tomosynthesis is the latest and most advanced clinically-proven technology for the early detection of breast cancer. Modern equipment uses relatively small x-ray doses and the potential benefit far outweighs any conceivable side effect.

How should I prepare for mammography and breast tomosynthesis?

There is no preparation for mammography and breast tomosynthesis, however you will be required to make an appointment. If you are pregnant, breast-feeding or have breast implants please let Epworth Medical Imaging staff know at the time of making the appointment.

We ask that you don’t wear talcum powder, deodorant or perfume on the day of examination as traces of these may show on the x-ray films and may cause confusing shadows.

On the day of your appointment

Epworth Medical Imaging’s friendly staff will greet you upon arrival and take your referral form. You will be asked to change into a gown. For comfort, it is a good idea to wear a two piece outfit for the procedure.

The examination is performed by a radiographer with specialist training in mammography. They will explain the procedure to you and ask some questions relating to your symptoms and family history.

For the best mammogram pictures, it is necessary to compress (squeeze) the breast as flat as possible – our radiographer will communicate with you to ensure your comfort. While some patients find this uncomfortable, it is essential to obtain clear films. The compression is only applied for a short time and both breasts can usually be examined in about 15 minutes.

During the 3D mammography part of the exam, the x-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images in just seconds.

Once the initial images are completed, they will be examined by the radiologist. The radiologist may require further mammographic images or recommend an ultrasound examination be performed. It is very common for patients to have additional imaging to provide further information to assist the radiologist in interpreting your images.

Self examination

Regular mammograms will detect some breast cancers but they will not find all of them. It is important that you self-examine your breasts each month and have regular checks with your doctor. If you are not familiar with the self-examination technique, please talk to your doctor and ask them to teach you.


After your examination please report back to reception where you will be presented with hardcopy films for your use. The radiologist will produce a report which will be sent directly to your GP or specialist – please contact your GP or specialist in order to discuss results.


Epworth Medical Imaging accepts cash, cheque, EFTFOS, MasterCard and Visa for payment on the day. If you have provided your bank details to Medicare, we can lodge Medicare claims electronically so as your Medicare rebate is direct deposited into your bank account.

Pensioners and healthcare card-holders will be bulked billed for all items covered under the Medicare schedule, although some surgical procedures and scans may incur a cost, as they are not covered under Medicare. Our staff will inform you of costs prior to your examination. Please have your Medicare card ready to present to reception.


Locations where we offer this procedure:

Epworth Freemasons Medical Centre
Epworth Richmond
Epworth Geelong

Request an appointment