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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Breast Imaging and Mammography

The Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Center, located in Prentice Women’s Hospital on Northwestern Medicine’s Chicago campus, provides a full range of screening and imaging services, and specialized expertise in breast cancer diagnosis.

  • Recognized as an American College of Radiology Center of Excellence, we offer leading-edge technology to detect and diagnose breast cancer early and accurately.
  • Our board-certified and breast fellowship-trained radiologists work closely with breast cancer surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, plastic surgeons, pathologists and other specialists at the Lurie Cancer Center.

Screening Mammograms

A screening mammogram is an examination performed in a patient who has no breast complaints. In a screening mammogram, two standard views of each breast are taken to detect findings too small or too deep to feel. During the procedure, an X-ray machine administers a small amount of radiation through the breasts to produce images that are later examined by a board-certified breast imaging radiologist.

We recommend that women have a screening mammogram every year beginning at age 40 and for as long as she is in good health.

Diagnostic Mammograms

A diagnostic mammogram is performed if the patient is experiencing a symptom such as a breast lump, discharge or skin/nipple changes. Additionally, a diagnostic mammogram is performed in patients who need follow up from previous breast imaging or a finding is identified on a screening mammogram. The goal of a diagnostic mammogram is to utilize different mammographic views along with ultrasound to pinpoint the exact size and location of a breast abnormality.

In many cases, diagnostic mammography will help indicate if the abnormality is benign (non-cancerous). However, if an abnormality is suspicious, additional breast imaging procedures such as a breast biopsy may be ordered. A biopsy is the only definitive way to determine whether a person has breast cancer. In other situations a breast MRI may be necessary.

Comprehensive Breast Imaging Services

In addition to screening mammography, the Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Center offers state-of-the-art diagnostic breast imaging and evaluation, including

  • 3D digital mammograms (tomosynthesis)
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Imaging-guided breast biopsies
  • Stereotactic breast biopsies
  • MRI guided breast biopsies
  • Needle localizations

On the Day of Your Breast Exam

  • Wear a two-piece outfit since you’ll need to remove your upper garments for the test.
  • Do not use deodorant, perfume, powder, creams or lotions on your breast or underarm area. Residue from the products may interfere with mammogram results.
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time.
  • Bring as many of your previous mammograms as possible to your appointment for comparison with new pictures, as the radiologist looks for changes in breast tissue.
  • Tell the technologist if you have implants or any skin changes, lumps or nipple discharge.
  • Some women may experience slight discomfort, but the procedure is not harmful and will not damage breast tissue. Please let the scheduler know if you have difficulty standing as additional time may be needed to perform your examination.

What You Should Know About Breast Density

What are dense breasts? What does it mean for you?

Learn how breast density can affect your mammogram

Make an Appointment

To request an appointment at the Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Center, please call 312.472.0420.

To request Northwestern Memorial Hospital mammogram files, call 312.472.0420.