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Mammogram

mammogram Request an Appointment

Self-schedule Online

Patients now have the convenience to self-schedule mammogram appointments online through our patient portal (MyChart).

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used to screen for and diagnose breast cancer. A mammography unit can either produce a standard 2-D image or 3-D image. 3-D mammography, or tomosynthesis, produces more detailed images of the breast tissue. Mammograms can also be used for a breast tissue or fluid biopsy.

Screening Mammograms

Annual screening mammograms are recommended for women who are 40 years or older, or for younger women with specific risk factors for breast cancer. You don’t have to have any signs or symptoms of a breast abnormality in order to receive a screening; they are used for the early detection of breast cancer and other breast health issues. Eighty percent of tumors found during a mammogram are benign. Screenings are also recommended for a period of time as follow-up care after breast cancer treatment.

Diagnostic Mammograms

You will be referred for this type of mammogram if you have an abnormality on your screening mammogram or if you have a breast mass or other breast change (found during a breast self-exam or by your physician). Diagnostic imaging may include mammograms with extra compression or magnification, mammograms shot from different angles or breast ultrasound.

Learn more about a mammogram exam in the Johns Hopkins Health Library.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Scheduling

Getting a mammogram too soon after your second dose of the coronavirus vaccine could result in a false positive and a callback due to temporarily swollen lymph nodes. 

The Johns Hopkins Division of Breast Imaging supports the recommendation from the Society of Breast Imaging: When possible, and if it does not delay care your doctor recommends, you should schedule screening mammograms before your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or four to six weeks after the second dose. Read more.

Why Choose Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging?

Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging brings the world-class expertise of Johns Hopkins to your community. Why does expertise matter? Because you matter. Here is how we do it:

  • Physician Experts. We set the standard for other radiologists around the world.
  • #1 Radiology Department. We are the top-ranked radiology department by U.S. News and World Report
  • State-of-the-Art Technology. Doing the right study with high quality increases accuracy.
  • Your Safety Is Always Our Priority. We take comprehensive safety measures to minimize any possible risk. 

How do I prepare for a mammogram?

SCHEDULING: Breasts can be tender the week before and during menstruation, so try to schedule your mammogram for one to two weeks after your period starts. If you have breast implants, please notify the office when you schedule the exam.

PRECAUTIONS: If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, please check with your doctor before scheduling the exam. We will discuss other options with you and your doctor.

BREASTFEEDING: Please notify the technologist if you are currently breastfeeding.

PERSONAL HYGIENE: Do not use any deodorant, powder, lotion or perfume on the day of your exam.

CLOTHING: You must remove your clothing from the waist up and change into a patient gown and lock up all personal belongings. Please remove all piercings and leave all jewelry and valuables at home.

What happens during a mammogram?

  1. You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and any other clothing or jewelry that may interfere with the exam.
  2. You will stand in front of the mammography machine and one breast will be placed on the X-ray plate.
  3. A separate flat plate will be brought down on top of the breast to compress it against the X-ray plate. You may feel some discomfort or pressure on your breasts during this X-ray process. This part of the process should only last for a few minutes.

Learn more about what happens during a mammogram exam in the Johns Hopkins Health Library.

What happens after a mammogram?

There is typically no special type of care following a mammogram. However, your health care provider may give you additional instructions depending on your specific health condition.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine interfere with getting a mammogram?

Getting a mammogram too soon after your second dose of the coronavirus vaccine could result in a false positive and a callback due to temporarily swollen lymph nodes.

The Johns Hopkins Division of Breast Imaging supports the recommendation from the Society of Breast Imaging: When possible, and if it does not delay care your doctor recommends, you should schedule screening mammograms before your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or four to six weeks after the second dose.

Breast imaging radiologists have noticed that underarm lymph nodes can become temporarily enlarged after a person is vaccinated for COVID-19. This is a normal reaction to the vaccine in some people. Four to six weeks after your vaccine(s), your lymph nodes are expected to return to their normal size.

If you go ahead with getting your mammogram within six weeks of your COVID-19 vaccination and larger-than-usual lymph nodes show up on the test, you will get a callback for more tests. The doctor may follow up with an ultrasound of the lymph nodes under your arm and request that you come in again one to three months after that to be sure the lymph nodes return to their normal size.

If you get a mammogram within the first six weeks after your COVID-19 vaccinations and your mammogram is negative for signs of breast cancer and does not show any enlargement of the lymph nodes, your results would be considered reliable that there are no signs of breast cancer.

Mammogram Resources

What to Expect During Your First Mammogram

A mammogram is an important step in taking care of yourself and your breasts but not knowing what to anticipate can be stressful. Join Monica for her first mammogram experience with Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging to learn more about how to prepare for a mammogram and what to expect during and after the exam.

 

See our collection of articles and videos featuring Johns Hopkins Medicine experts who discuss what you need to know about your breast health needs.