Why the Squeeze During a Mammogram?

Squeezing your breast between two plates of plexiglass for a mammogram is not comfortable, but there’s a valid medical reason for this compression.

“The breast is compressed for mammograms — both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) views — to even out tissue and decrease the amount of breast overlap,” says MIR breast imaging radiologist Cheryl Herman, MD.

Although both types of mammograms are performed similarly, 3D technology detects more cancers and has fewer false-positive rates.

“Sometimes small lesions may be obscured by overlapping breast tissue, and compression evens out the layer of tissue allowing for better visualization,” Herman says. “Compression also holds the breast still so the mammogram images are not blurry. Many times when women are recalled to the breast center for additional imaging, it’s due to blurry images. Not enough compression was used initially.”

It matters where you go for your mammogram. Schedule your mammogram with an MIR breast imaging expert.