Digital mammography is a mammography system where x-ray film is replaced by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electric signals. These detectors are similar to those found in digital cameras. The electrical signals are used to produce images of the breast that can be seen on a computer screen or printed on special films to look like regular mammograms. From the patient’s point of view, mammography with a Full Field Digital Mammography (FFDM) system (“digital mammography”) is essentially the same as the screen-film system. The mammograms will be taken the same way. Digital mammography can legally be performed only in facilities that are certified such as the Diagnostic Breast Center.
Breast ultrasound, also known as sonography or ultrasonography, is frequently used to evaluate breast abnormalities that are found with screening or diagnostic mammography or during a physician performed clinical breast exam. Ultrasound allows significant freedom in obtaining images of the breast from almost any orientation. Ultrasound is excellent at imaging cysts: round, fluid-filled, pockets inside the breast. Additionally, ultrasound can often quickly determine if a suspicious area is in fact a cyst (always non-cancerous) or an increased density of solid tissue (dense mass) which may require a biopsy to determine if it is malignant (cancerous).