• 3D Digital Mammography

    The latest technology for early breast cancer detection – now available in the Tri-Cities

    One of the latest innovations in women’s health care, three-dimensional breast mammography (3D mammography) allows the Wellmont Cancer Institute to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.

    Limitations of 2D mammography

    With conventional two-dimensional mammography (2D mammography), breast cancers can be missed because they are sometimes hidden behind normal breast tissue.

    Another problem is that normal breast tissues can overlap (or superimpose) one another, creating what radiologists call a summation shadow in a 2D image.

    Though it isn’t a cancer, this “shadow” can appear to be cancer.

    The effect is similar to the way the words on one side of a book page appear superimposed over the words on the back of the page when you hold it up to a light.

    Unfortunately, that shadow means some patients are diagnosed with cancer who shouldn’t be.

    How is 3D better?

    A more clearer, easier to read image

    For 3D mammography – which is also called 3D digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) or tomography – a short X-ray sweep around the breast is used to create an image of the whole breast.

    The image is built from only nine low-dose exposures taken using this “step-and-shoot” method, which was designed to separate the tissues and reduce the overlapping that can result in false positive readings.

    In fact, 3D mammograms allow the radiologist to take multiple pictures of each breast from various angles.

    This just isn’t possible with a traditional 2D mammogram, which takes a single image in two directions.

    Bottom line? 3D improves cancer detection rates.

    The bottom line is that 3D digital mammography improves early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer while putting an emphasis on your wellbeing as a patient.

    3D digital mammography provides:

    • Greater clarity – By removing potential motion, digital 3D mammography reduces blur and increases image sharpness.
    • Greater confidence – By helping your doctor see around and between breast tissues, which is difficult with 2D technology, 3D mammograms remove the “clutter” to make a mammogram easier to read in women of all breast tissue types.
    • Fewer false positives – Together, this enhanced clarity and confidence mean overlapping normal tissue that might appear to be abnormal in 2D imaging and mistakenly determined to be cancerous can be more easily identified as normal with 3D mammography.
    • One exam for most women, including those with dense breasts – 3D mammography can be used for screening those with any type of breast, including the 40% of women with dense breasts. For them, tumors can be obscured in a 2D mammogram by dense tissues, which makes detecting cancer more challenging.

    How are 2D and 3D similar (or the same)?

    In addition to being unique in some important ways, 3D mammography is also similar to 2D in some beneficial ways.

    Same dose as 2D

    With the GE SenoClaire system we use, the dose is the same as standard 2D mammography, which helps us keep radiation levels as low as possible.

    In other words, there is no increased radiation to patients during the 3D screening breast exam we offer.

    Actually, SenoClaire is the only FDA-approved 3D breast tomosynthesis that delivers the same dose as a 2D view.

    Same level of comfort

    The position of the breast in 3D tomosynthesis is identical to 2D, which means the examination is no less comfortable.

    Why choose the Wellmont Cancer Institute?

    NAPBC accredited for your peace of mind

    Wellmont offers the only breast centers in the Tri-Cities region that are accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. The NAPBC is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to recognize breast centers providing quality care and to provide you with greater assurance of the level of care you'll receive there.

    SensorySuite rooms for your comfort

    In addition to the benefits you read about above, our digital 3D mammography rooms feature SensorySuite. This is an all-encompassing interactive experience designed to make mammography less initimidating and more comfortable.

    With SensorySuite, you choose the environmental ambiance you prefer to be surrounded by – such as the seaside, a garden or a waterfall – to create a more calming setting.

    Learn more about the cancer institute

    Find out why you don't have to look further for superior cancer care.

    Have other questions about mammograms?

    Find answers to questions we commonly hear on our mammography FAQ page.

    Where can I find 3D mammography?

    You can find 3D digital mammography at:

    The Leonard Family Comprehensive Breast Center – Bristol

    Bristol Regional Medical Center
    1 Medical Park Blvd., Bristol, TN

    Comprehensive Breast Center – Kingsport

    103 W. Stone Drive
    Kingsport, TN 37660

    In one convenient, spa-like facility, you can have access to expert physicians, advanced technology, including 3D mammography, and unmatched support for any breast health need – from prevention and screening to detection, treatment and survivorship.

    Diagnostic Center for Women’s Health – Greeneville*

    438 E. Vann Road
    Greeneville, TN 37743

    *Please note, our Greeneville location uses the Hologic Selenia Dimension system, rather than the GE SenoClaire system, and does not feature SensorySuite rooms (described above).

    How do I get started?

    To learn more about 3D mammography or to schedule a mammogram, please call:

    • (423) 844-4584 in Bristol
    • (423) 224-5312 in Kingsport
    • (423) 278-1900 in Greeneville
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    Women's cancer expert Dr. Paul Kramer

    We give women hope. Our women’s cancer experts specialize in gynecologic cancers, laparoscopic surgery and breast cancers.