Get the Facts about 3D™

How does 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™ allow radiologists to see through the clouds of confusing breast tissue?


What is 3D™?

Conventional digital mammography produces two-dimensional images of the breast. However, this can limit visibility. Tissue can overlap, creating clouds of confusion, which may hide cancers. It can also make something completely benign look suspicious, resulting in false alarms. Three-dimensional mammography—also known as digital breast tomosynthesis (tomo)—is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool that provides a 3D™ image of the breast structure to improve the early detection of breast cancer. Approved by the FDA in early 2011, 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™ is used in combination with 2D digital mammography.


Why is 3D™ the standard of care at WLIC?

More than 100 clinical studies on 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™ have shown that doctors are able to screen for breast cancer with much greater accuracy–regardless of a woman’s age or breast density. These studies have shown:

3D™ detects 41% more invasive cancers. Greater accuracy means better breast cancer detection, potentially at an earlier stage when breast cancer is easier to treat. When caught early, the 5-year survival rate is 93% - 100% depending on the stage.

3D™ reduces callbacks by up to 40%. For many women, this means being spared the emotional, practical and economic toll of additional testing, including biopsies, when there could be nothing wrong.

Because 3D™ is such a critical part of detecting breast cancer at its earliest stage, all of our patients benefit from this technology. So whether you have fatty or dense breasts, whether or not you have a family history of breast cancer, whether you are young or young-at-heart, breast cancer doesn't discriminate and neither do we. Hologic 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™ is our standard of care. That means everyone gets 3D™!


How does 3D™ work?

During the 3D™ part of the exam, an X-ray arm sweeps over the breast, taking multiple images in seconds. Images are displayed as a series of thin slices that can be viewed by our radiologists as individual images or in a dynamic interactive animation. The 3D™ portion of the screening is very similar to having a traditional digital mammogram. Yes, your breast will be compressed—like always—preventing motion and allowing us to spread breast tissue out. Rest assured; our mammography technologists are exceptionally skilled at making this process as comfortable as possible.


What’s all the talk about 3D mammography and breast density?

New research has suggested that breast density is a significant factor in determining a woman’s risk for getting breast cancer. That’s probably why you’ve heard a lot of talk about breast density. Here’s the scoop.

Breast density compares the amount of fat to the amount of tissue in a breast as seen in a mammogram. Dense breasts contain more glandular and fibrous tissue than fatty tissue. So what’s the big deal? Mammograms of dense breasts are much harder to read than mammograms of fatty breasts. The denser the breast, the more likely breast cancers are able to hide. In fact, women with high breast density are four to five times more likely to get breast cancer. Studies have shown that Hologic 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™ is better able to detect cancers hidden in dense breasts. For more information, visit