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8110 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042

Mammography is a safe and effective low-dose X-ray of the breast used to help diagnose breast diseases and abnormalities. The major advantage of mammography is it can identify problems at a very early and treatable stage. Breast cancer, for example, can be discovered as early as two years before it is evident during a physical examination.

If a mammogram shows an area in your breast that may be cancer, your provider can remove a sample of tissue. This is called a biopsy. Your provider may remove the tissue by needle or during surgery. The tissue will be looked at under a microscope to find out if it is cancer.

Inova provides both digital and 3D mammograms throughout Northern Virginia. See locations below.

Before Your Procedure

Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time. (For MRI and nuclear medicine studies, please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time.)

Bring the following information with you:

  • A signed prescription for an imaging study (unless your doctor’s office has either faxed an order or indicated they entered the order directly into Inova’s electronic medical records system)
  • Insurance card
  • Photo ID (e.g., license, passport)
  • Any previous exam films and reports performed at a non-Inova facility, including X-rays, mammograms, MRIs, CT scans and ultrasounds
  • Implant card, if applicable

Digital Mammography

Digital Mammography works similar to traditional mammography in that it is used to screen for breast cancer and other abnormalities, but instead of the images being printed in film, they are digital.

With the digital format, radiologists are able to adjust the images’ resolution and contrast, improving the quality of the image. The clearer image makes it earlier to see dense breast tissue and small tumors.

Digital Mammography Locations (see below for 3D mammography)


3D Mammography

3D mammography, also known as breast tomosynthesis, is a type of screening where X-rays are passed though the breast at different angles to create a series of images which are then used to create a three-dimensional picture of the breast. This type of mammography offers advantages for those with dense breast tissue as the 3D image allows doctors to see past areas of density. Both dense breast tissue and cancerous tissue appear white on the traditional mammogram, making it difficult to detect cancer in dense breasts.

3D Mammography Locations (see above for digital mammography)