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Distinguished Specialty Centers / Breast Imaging Center / 3D Mammography

3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis) 

3D mammography (also known as Tomosynthesis) is the most advanced screening and diagnostic tool available for detecting breast cancer. Standard 2D mammography creates a flat image, whereas 3D mammography creates three-dimensional renderings of the breast, resulting in greater accuracy in evaluating breast tissue and detecting cancer.

Screening Recommendations

In line with the American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines, Sansum Clinic recommends yearly 3D mammography for women with average risk, starting at age 40. Mammography is safe and effective during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Doctors may recommend starting mammography before age 40, or may recommendation additional breast screening, based personal and family history.

Our Technology

Sansum Clinic uses Genius™ 3D Mammography™. The Genius™ exam allows doctors to examine your breast tissue layer by layer. So, instead of viewing all of the complexities of your breast tissue in a flat image, as with conventional 2D mammography, fine details are more visible and no longer hidden by the tissue above or below. The Genius exam consists of a 2D and 3D™ image set, where the 2D image can be either an acquired image or a 2D image generated from the 3D™ image set. 

What To Expect

Sansum Clinic uses Genius™ 3D Mammography™. The Genius™ exam allows doctors to examine your breast tissue layer by layer. So, instead of viewing all of the complexities of your breast tissue in a flat image, as with conventional 2D mammography, fine details are more visible and no longer hidden by the tissue above or below. The Genius exam consists of a 2D and 3D™ image set, where the 2D image can be either an acquired image or a 2D image generated from the 3D™ image set. 

  • A member of our team will greet you and give you a gown to wear. You will need to remove all clothing and jewelry from the waist up.
  • During a 3D mammography, you will stand in front of the mammography machine and the technologist will place one of your breasts on the machine and position you to ensure an unobstructed view of your breast.
  • Your breast will be gradually pressed against the platform for a few seconds to spread out your breast tissue while the machine moves above you to collect images. 
  • The pressure will then be released and the machine will be repositioned to take an image from the other side. This whole process is then repeated on the other side.
  • The pressure applied to your breast during a mammogram is not harmful but you may find it uncomfortable. Please let the technologist know if you have too much discomfort.
  • The exam will take approximately 30 minutes.
  • After your mammography is complete, our breast radiologist will examine the images and report the results directly to your doctor.


If you need to schedule an appointment, or for any questions, call (805) 681-7671.

Breast Imaging

3D Mammography (Tomosynthesis)
Diagnostic Mammography
Breast MRI
Whole Breast Ultrasound (WBUS)
Breast Ultrasound
Breast Biopsy
Breast Needle Localization

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FAQ’s (use expand collapse function)


Q: What is the difference between the conventional 2D screening mammography versus 3D breast tomosynthesis screening mammography?
A: Unlike 2D digital mammography, which takes a full view of the breast tissue as a flat image, 3D Mammography, breast tomosynthesis, is a 3-dimensional image of the breast tissue with several images that are taken at varying angles along an arc across the breast. With 3D mammography, the premise is that what is hidden behind fibroglandular tissue on one image might be visible in another image if the angle is slightly different. 

Q: What is the benefit of having a 3D mammogram versus the conventional 2D mammogram?
A: 3D mammography has been shown to reduce false positive studies by up to 40%, which means that there will be less of a need for additional imaging. Additionally, some studies have shown that it detects 41% more invasive breast cancers than 2D mammography

Q: Is there a difference in the mammography experience for the patient?
A: A 3D mammogram is very similar to having a traditional 2D mammogram. Like a 2D mammogram, the technologist will position the patient, compress the breast and take images from different angles. There is no additional compression required and it only takes a few seconds longer for each view.

Q: Is there any difference in the radiation exposure?
A: The exposure is virtually the same as a 2D mammogram and is well within the FDA safety standards for mammography.

Q: Who is a candidate for 3D screening mammography?
A: All patients who need a screening mammogram are good candidates for 3D screening mammography. Multiple studies have shown that all women, regardless of breast type or density, may benefit from 3D mammography.

Q: Is 3D mammography covered by insurance carriers? 

A: At this time, we understand that the following insurance carriers cover 3D mammography:

• Cigna
• CenCal
• Health Net Seniority Plus
• United Medicare Complete
• Anthem Blue Cross

• Medicare

It is always a good idea to check with your insurance carrier before scheduling a mammogram. For patients with an insurance plan that does not cover 3D mammography, we offer this service for $60.

Q: Will 3D mammography replace whole breast ultrasound/will some patients still benefit from whole breast ultrasound?
A: If a patient has dense breast tissue, which is identified on a 2D or 3D mammogram, an additional screening for whole breast ultrasound may still be recommended. Your doctor will determine if whole breast ultrasound or breast MRI is recommended for you. To learn more about this exciting new technology, please contact your primary care doctor.