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Mammogram and Ultrasound

Digital Mammograms play a critical role in the early screening and diagnosing of breast diseases because mammograms have the ability to show changes in breast tissue prior to a patient or physician’s ability to feel them. Our state of the art digital mammography equipment allows physicians to view images in real time and examine the breast in greater detail. Digital mammograms have been shown to be more accurate at detecting tumors than older analog technology.

Screening Mammogram

Screening mammograms can be done at Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging in Columbia, located next to the hospital.

Diagnostic Mammogram

If a screening mammogram detects an abnormality, the patient is usually called back for a diagnostic mammogram to take additional films that magnify the area or spot in question. Patients may also have a diagnostic mammogram to monitor an abnormality seen on a prior mammogram or if they have breast implants, which need to be "pushed back" to obtain an adequate film. Patients experiencing symptoms such as pain, discharge from the nipple or a lump may also need a diagnostic mammogram. The radiologist immediately reads the film and the results are reviewed with the patient.

Breast Ultrasound

A breast ultrasound is usually a follow-up to a mammogram when the radiologist detects an abnormality or when a lump is felt in the breast. Approximately 5-15 percent of women are called back for additional imaging and most of the time, the findings are benign. A transducer runs over the breast area, sending and receiving sound waves to form a picture on the screen. A radiologist reviews the images and the results are discussed with the patient.

Needle Localization by Mammography

This type of mammogram is for areas of the breast that are difficult to locate by feel or abnormal areas found during a diagnostic mammography. Under local anesthesia, a needle is inserted in the area to be examined. A fine wire is inserted through the needle so that it catches in the breast tissue. The needle is removed and the wire is left in place. A surgeon then removes tissue for imaging by radiology. The procedure may leave a small scar and the patient may have to limit activities for several days until the area heals.


To schedule an appointment for an annual screening mammogram, call Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging at 410-735-7100.

To schedule an appointment for a biopsy, call Diagnostic Imaging at HCGH at 410-720-8130.

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