3D Mammography

This information is useful for adults
A woman getting a 3D mammogram.
Why Yale Medicine?
  • We are experts in mammography who lead research studies about breast cancer screening and diagnosis.
  • We simultaneously perform 3D (tomosynthesis) and 2D mammograms.
  • All four of our imaging locations located in New Haven and Fairfield Counties are equipped with 3D mammogram technology.

Just like a three-dimensional photo is more detailed and lifelike than a 2D image, digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT)—or 3D mammography—gives radiologists with a clearer view of breast tissue. And that's why this new technology has rapidly become an essential imaging tool that enhances a doctor's ability to detect early breast cancer. With breast cancer, earlier detection leads to earlier treatment, less aggressive treatment options and better outcomes

Thanks to 3D mammography, radiologists can view breast images in "slices," which essentially allows them to see straight through tissue layers and makes it less likely they’ll miss an early sign of cancer. The technology also eliminates the problem where breast cancer is masked by overlapping fibroglandular tissue, which sometimes happens with conventional 2D mammograms. Research shows 3D mammography is up to 40 percent better at detecting invasive breast cancers. 

“DBT or 3D mammography is more accurate than conventional 2D mammography,” says radiologist Regina Hooley, MD, a Yale Medicine breast imaging expert. “It improves interpretation of mammograms and will likely entirely replace conventional 2D mammograms in the future.”

At Yale Medicine, we already have made this conversion. We perform 3D and 2D mammography simultaneously for both screening and diagnostic purposes at our four breast imaging sites located in New Haven and Fairfield Counties.

There are many benefits of 3D mammograms. Here are some specifics you should know about:

  • Tomosynthesis or “tomo” (3D mammography) increases cancer detection and is beneficial to all women, regardless of breast density.
  • Studies have shown a 43 percent increase in cancer detection when using 3D mammography compared to conventional 2D mammography.
  • With 3D mammograms, there are fewer recalls for further testing, which means less unnecessary worry.
  • Also, 3D mammography finds more benign lesions (such as cysts), many of which get missed with a conventional mammogram. These are important to know about and monitor.