Digital Mammography

Yampa Valley Medical Center is an FDA-certified mammography facility, accredited through 2016 by the American College of Radiology.  We offer digital mammography in a beautiful suite. As a Soft Mammogram Provider, we make your comfort our priority. All staff performing your exam are certified mammographers, and board-certified radiologists interpret the images.

What is a mammogram?

Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray to examine breast tissue. It is currently the most efficient screening method to detect early breast cancer.

Why is a mammogram performed?

Mammograms are a regular part of women’s health and are done as a screening tool for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and American Medical Association recommend that a woman obtain her first baseline mammogram at the age of 40. After the age of 40, she should receive a yearly mammogram.

Women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer may need to obtain mammograms earlier than these recommendations. Discuss with your doctor if you have concerns about obtaining a mammogram before the age of 40.

How do I schedule a mammogram?

Call the Diagnostic Imaging scheduling line at 970-871-2399.

Preparing for a mammogram

  • If you are pre-menopausal, you should make a mammogram appointment for one to two weeks after your menstrual period. Your breasts may be less sensitive.
  • If you have had a previous mammogram done at another facility, have the films and results sent or bring them with you to your mammography appointment.
  • If you have breast implants, be sure to tell the YVMC mammography scheduler when you make your appointment. Mammography exams for women who have breast implants take more time and must be scheduled appropriately.
  • When you come to YVMC for your mammogram, you will be asked to undress from the waist up, so dress accordingly.
  • Do not wear any deodorant, perfume, lotion, or powder under your arms or on your breasts on the day of your mammogram appointment. These products may appear on your mammogram image.
  • At the time of the mammogram, you will fill out a questionnaire or update your medical history. Be sure to inform the technologist of any prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer.

How is a mammogram done?

The mammographer places one breast at a time on a film plate and flattens the breast with a clear plastic paddle. This is called compression, and it allows the breast tissue to even out. This pressure is very important for increased image quality and lasts for only a few seconds. Compression may cause you some discomfort; you may feel squeezed or pinched.

Most often, two pictures are taken of each breast--one from the side and one from above. A screening mammogram takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Different types of mammograms

  • Screening mammograms are done for women who have no symptoms.
  • Diagnostic mammograms are done when a woman has symptoms including breast pain or a lump. This mammogram takes longer than screening mammograms as additional views and ultrasound may be needed.

How are mammogram results provided?

  • Screening mammograms are read according to the American College of Radiology recommendation of reading all mammograms in one sitting in a quiet and uninterrupted environment. Screening mammograms are read once a day at the end of the day and the results are sent to your health care professional’s office within 10 days. A letter of your results will be sent directly to you within 30 days.

For the vast majority of women, the initial mammogram is normal and the only imaging follow-up necessary is the annual screening examination. However, some women will need further breast imaging, which may include additional views, ultrasound or MRI, based on the findings of the radiologist. You will be notified by phone to schedule any additional imaging as recommended.

  • Diagnostic mammograms are read at the time of your appointment and additional views or ultrasound will be preformed at that time if needed. The technologist will inform you if the recommendation is to return in a year’s time and the radiologist will meet with you if further imaging testing is necessary to explain and answer any questions. If there are further recommendations such as MRI or stereotactic biopsy, our Women’s Imaging Coordinator will assist you in making these arrangements and you will receive this contact information at your mammography appointment.

In addition to the standard radiologist’s review of the mammogram, Yampa Valley Medical Center utilizes a CAD system. This is computer-aided detection that assists the radiologist in their interpretation.

How do I schedule a mammogram?

Call the Diagnostic Imaging department at 970-871-2399.

If you are experiencing any breast problems (pain or lump) make an appointment to first see your physician, as a diagnostic mammogram may be necessary.

Can I have a bone density study at the time of my mammogram?

Yes. Just ask us to schedule your exams back-to-back for your convenience.