Your Frist Mammogram: What To Expect

Going through something the first time is usually when it causes the most concern, worry and anxiousness, particularly as it applies to breast cancer screening. Although a mammogram can not prevent cancer, it can help to diagnose cancer when it is treatable. In today’s post, we share some information that will hopefully put you at ease about having your first mammogram.

How do you prepare for a screening mammogram?

Here are a couple of things that we recommend that you do ahead of time to make sure your mammogram at Capitol Imaging Services goes smoothly:

  • If it is common for your breasts to become sore or tender around your menstrual cycle, you might want to avoid scheduling a mammogram during that time frame.
  • Many women pack a bag with any deodorant, lotion or other powders you usually wear, as we inform you not to wear any of these things during a mammogram.
  • Ask us questions. When you schedule your exam with us, feel free to ask whatever is weighing on your mind so that you know what to expect. Know before you go! Knowing what to expect helps alleviate some, if not all, of your worries.

What happens when I go to my appointment?

Our technologists understand your anxiety and they are there to help ease you into your first screening.

The following is what you can expect when having a mammogram:

  • When you get to our center, you will go through our registration and check-in process.
  • You will need to remove your top. You will be taken to a private room and given a gown to change into it.
  • Once you are called back into the room, the mammography technologist will ask you simple questions about yourself.
  • This is a good time to mention if you have any concerning lumps or if you have had surgery or breast implants.
  • The technologist will have you stand in front of the machine and adjust it to your height. You’ll be asked to remove one of your breasts from your gown at a time.
  • You will be directed to lean in towards the “shelf” on the machine, so our technologist can place your breast in the right place.
  • The technologist will gently place a “plate,” made of light plastic on top of your breast. You will be asked to hold your breath while the machine compresses your breast for only a few seconds. Once the picture is done, the compression releases. NOTE: This is the aspect of a mammogram that many women consider to be uncomfortable. Please inform the technologist if the discomfort is too much. She will make adjustments in order to make the process as comfortable as possible.
  • The technologist will take four images of your breasts, which means four different moments of being adjusted, squeezed and then released, unless you are getting 3D mammography. A 3D mammogram will compress each breast once and take several images as the machine moves over your breast in an arch to acquire extra images that provide the three-dimensional views.
  • Once you return to the waiting room, don’t change back into your top. After reviewing the images, the technologist may call you back for additional pictures.
  • Once you’re done, the technologist will tell you that you are free to change and leave.

The results will then be sent to your primary provider for review, and they will contact you directly with your results. 

What Are My Screening Options? 

Capitol Imaging Services performs conventional 2D screening mammograms at all of our facilities. We also offer 3D Mammography, which your physician may suggest if you have dense breast. 3D Mammography delivers a series of detailed breast images, allowing your doctor to better evaluate your breasts layer by layer. It can provide greater accuracy than 2D Mammography. 

The 3D mammography technology is available in Metairie, Marrero, Slidell and Covington.

Your First Mammogram

Please visit our website’s section on mammography to learn more about your screening options and to find the CIS center that offers breast cancer screening near you.

 Schedule your appointment with Capitol Imaging Services and find out why we are Doctor Trusted and Patient Preferred.