BREAST IMAGING SERVICES

Is an appointment necessary?

Yes, appointments are necessary for this category of examination. Appointments can be made by calling the clinic where you intend to go for the examination.


What documents need I bring along?

Please bring along the letter or request form from a physician requesting for the particular examination.

Also, for easy identification, bring along your identity card or passport. This will also assist to expedite the registration process.

For follow-up cases, it is necessary to have previous x-ray films in order for the radiologist to compare and report on the progress of the condition.



How should I prepare for the examination?

Exam Preparation

At the clinic, you may be asked to change into an x-ray gown and to remove jewellery or ornaments which may obscure the region that is being x-rayed.

For female patients, they will be asked to certify that they are not pregnant. If there is any possibility of pregnancy, this should be brought to the attention of the physician or radiographer or nurse attending to you.

For mammotome and breast biopsy procedures, written consent for the procedure is necessary. An informed consent will be taken at the clinic. If the patient is below the legal age of consent, an accompanying adult who is a legal guardian is necessary. Prior to the examination and at least one day before the appointment, patient will be attended to by the radiologist who will describe the procedure to the patient to allay her fears.


How is the procedure performed?

MAMMOGRAM

A female radiographer will position the patient. The breast is placed on a specialised x-ray machine and compressed with a hard plastic paddle. Compression is necessary as it evens out the breast thickness and a lower x-ray dose is required. Compression also reduces x-ray scatter and improves image quality. The radiographer will be behind a glass shield while making the x-ray exposure. A top-to-bottom view and a side view will be taken of each breast.


Is the examination painful?

The mammography is not painful although it could be uncomfortable because of the compression. As in photograph taking, any movement during exposure will render the image unclear. Thus the patient may be asked to stop breathing and to keep still for the duration of the exposure which is about a few seconds.

For breast biopsy, a local anaesthetic is used to lessen the little pain during the procedure.


How long will the procedure take?

A mammogram will take about 20 to 30 minutes. If a supplementary ultrasound examination is done this may take an additional 20 minutes.

The breast biopsy procedure may take about 40 to 50 minutes. Often this is done as a procedure. The patient will be required to rest in day surgery after the procedure until the surgeon deems it fit for the patient to be discharged.


When will the results be ready?

After all the x-rays have been processed, the radiologist will report on his/her findings. For urgent work, the results will be ready for collection in an hour's time at the clinic. For routine cases, the results will be despatched to the referring physician's clinic before your next appointment.