3 Women’s Imaging Procedures & How They Work

Women have different needs when it comes to diagnostic imaging. Because of the types of diseases and conditions that are more commonly found in women, there are imaging procedures that are specific to those diseases. In this article, we’ll talk about the three most common imaging procedures for women, including how they work, what to expect, and where to go to get the procedure.  

Mammogram

Mammography is a woman’s best shot at early detection for breast cancer. Mammograms can often detect cancer in the breast years before it would present any symptoms.

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram, put simply, is an x-ray taken of the breast. A technician will take images of both breasts from the front and the side using a special x-ray machine. Keep in mind your technician cannot tell you the results of your imaging. Depending on the facility, you should get the results within a few weeks from your doctor or radiologist.

What happens after a mammogram?

Your radiologist will read your mammogram and report the results to you and your doctor. If your mammogram is clear, your doctor will recommend timing for any follow-up mammograms. If your mammogram shows an abnormality, your doctor will likely order further tests.

Breast Biopsy

If the results of your mammogram show an abnormality, your doctor may suggest a breast biopsy to further analyze a sample.

What is a breast biopsy?

During a breast biopsy, your doctor will take a small sample of breast tissue to be sent to a laboratory where additional tests will be administered to analyze the sample. The tissue sample allows doctors to further identify and diagnose any abnormalities that may have been discovered during a mammogram or an ultrasound.

What are the types of breast biopsies?

There are five types of breast biopsy procedures, the first three: fine-needle aspiration biopsy, core needle biopsy, stereotactic biopsy don’t require imaging, while the second two types of breast biopsies involve imaging techniques performed by radiologists: 

Ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy. This is a type of core needle biopsy involving an ultrasound device. Your radiologist will place the ultrasound device against your breast, using it to locate the mass within your breast. They will then make a small incision and insert the core needle to take multiple samples of tissue then send to a lab for analysis.

MRI-guided core needle biopsy. This is another type of core needle biopsy that is done while guided by an MRI. The MRI machine provides images to help location the specific area for the biopsy. Similar to the ultrasound-guided biopsy, a small incision is made to take tissue samples for the lab.

DEXA Bone Density Scan

Osteoporosis or the loss of density in bone is far more prevalent in woman than in men. Bone density scan—also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA—can be used to measure bone loss and diagnose osteoporosis earlier in women.

How does a bone density scan work?

Bone density scanning uses a small dose of ionizing radiation to create images of the inside of the body in order to measure bone loss. It’s used to diagnose osteoporosis and to evaluate a woman’s risk for developing fractures associated with osteoporosis. Bone density scanning is easy and non-invasive, making it the most commonly used method for diagnosing osteoporosis.

These procedures are not only the most common diagnostic tools for women; they are also the most important first line defense in diagnostic and early detection for the diseases that affect women the most. At Rosetta Radiology we understand the importance of women’s imaging, and are here for all your imaging needs. Schedule an appointment with us today!