Mammogram | Everything You Need to Know About Mammograms

Abnormal mammogram

Abnormal mammogram

Mammograms are made when low energy X Rays are passed through the breast tissue. Depending on the density of the different areas of the breast, the xrays are absorbed in different patterns. The denser the tissue, the more xrays it absorbs. A dense portion of tissue appears more white on the xray film, while a darker part indicates that it has less density.

In general, the breast becomes less dense as the patient’s age increases. Breast implants may make it more difficult to read a mammogram as they appear opaque on the film. In addition, breast implants make it difficult to compress the examined breast during the procedure, further decreasing the quality of the taken radiograph. This is why the best imaging study for women with breast augmentation is the MRI, not the mammogram.

There are a number of abnormal findings that can be detected on a mammogram other than a tumour, and they are usually much less dangerous and more common. These include calcium deposits or calcifications, which are collections of calcium particles in a certain area usually due to inflammation or trauma. Calcium deposits often increase with age. another finding is that of a cyst which is a thin walled sack filled with liquid. Yet another finding is a fibroadenoma, which is a benign tumour that usually appears in young adults. They are usually small, round and easy to move . Coming back to the topic of density, high breast density is associated with a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.