Mammography is a specialized type of medical imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to produce images of the internal structures of the breasts. This noninvasive radiographic examination, called a mammogram, is commonly used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases, particularly in women.

The technologist performs mammograms on patients using an x-ray unit that is exclusively designed for this purpose, with special accessories that allow only the breast to be exposed to the x-rays. Attached to the unit is a device that holds and compresses the breast so that images can be obtained at different angles.

Mammography is used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms. It can also be used to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain, or a visible change in the breast.

Last Modified: August 1, 2014