What to Expect from Your First Mammogram

Mammography is an important diagnostic tool that your doctor can use to detect the presence of breast cancer. While the frequency with which women should undergo mammograms varies from individual to individual, in general, it is recommended that women schedule annual mammograms beginning at age 40. If you’re getting ready to schedule your first mammogram, take a look at this brief overview of what to expect.


In order for the mammogram to provide clear and accurate images of your breast tissue, you will need to undress above the waist. You will be given a gown to wrap around yourself when you undress. After you are undressed, your breasts will be positioned for the mammogram by the technologist who is conducting the procedure.


Once your breasts have been positioned on the mammogram machine’s platform, they will be gently compressed. This allows the machine to produce the clearest images possible of your breast tissue. An upper plate or paddle made of plastic will be lowered onto your breasts to gradually compress them. The technologist will then use the mammogram machine to take X-rays of your breast tissue. You will likely be positioned for more than one X-ray image, with the breast compression lasting a few seconds for each image. You may experience some discomfort while your breasts are compressed—if this discomfort is severe, your technologist may use less compression.


After your mammogram, your X-rays will be examined by a radiologist. The radiologist will look for any abnormalities that could be signs of breast cancer. Once the radiologist has evaluated the images, you will receive the results. Mammogram facilities are required to deliver results within 30 days, but you will likely hear back from the facility sooner. If any abnormalities are detected in the images, you may be asked to undergo further diagnostic testing.

At Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center, we offer digital mammography services to ensure our patients receive the highest level of care. We also take steps to make sure every patient is comfortable during her mammograms. For more information, call our mammogram and MRI facility in Dallas at (214) 345-6905.