- What is a mammogram?
- Types of mammograms
- How is a mammogram done?
- Help with mammogram costs
- Regulation of mammography
- What does the doctor look for on a mammogram?
- Breast biopsy
- Mammogram reports – BI-RADS
- Mammograms in special circumstances
- Improving mammograms
- Other breast imaging tests
- Experimental and other breast imaging methods
- To learn more
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast that’s used to detect and evaluate breast changes.
X-rays were first used to examine breast tissue nearly a century ago, by the German surgeon, Albert Salomon. But 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 a lot, and today’s mammogram is very different even from those of the 1980s and 1990s.
Today, the x-ray machines used for mammograms produce lower energy x-rays. These 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, and this improves the image quality. Mammograms today expose the breast to much less radiation compared with those in the past.
Last Medical Review: 12/17/2012
Last Revised: 02/07/2013