- What is a mammogram?
- What’s the difference between a screening mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram?
- How is a mammogram done?
- What to expect when you have a screening mammogram
- Where can I get help with mammogram costs?
- How is mammography regulated?
- Radiation exposure from mammography
- What does the doctor look for on a mammogram?
- Getting called back after a mammogram
- Understanding your mammogram report – BI-RADS categories
- What are the limitations of mammograms?
- Mammograms after breast cancer
- Mammograms in special circumstances
- Breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Breast ultrasound
- Other breast imaging methods
- To learn more
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast that is used to detect and evaluate breast changes.
X-rays were first used to examine breast tissue a century ago, by the German surgeon, Albert Salomon. Modern mammography has only existed since the late 1960s, when special x-ray machines were designed and used just for breast imaging. Since then, the technology has advanced, and today’s mammogram is very different even from those of the 1980s and 1990s.
The x-ray machines used for mammograms today expose the breast to much less radiation than those used in the past. The x-rays do not go through tissue as easily as those used for routine chest x-rays or x-rays of the arms or legs, which also improves the image quality.
Last Medical Review: 12/08/2014
Last Revised: 10/20/2015