What is Mammography?

Mammography is a specialised imaging technique that uses low dose x-rays to acquire very detailed images of breast tissue. Mammography is used for general screening of breast tissue, localisation and assessment of breast lumps, and guidance for interventional investigation of breast lesions.

Preparation – What to do before a Mammogram

  • The preparation for a mammogram begins with appointment scheduling. If you experience breast sensitivity before or during your menstrual period, and your mammogram is not of an urgent nature, consider scheduling your appointment outside of this part of your cycle.
  • Wear clothing that allows you to remove your garments from the top half of your body whilst remaining clothed on the bottom half.
  • Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder, or tinted moisturisers. Mammograms visualise such fine detail that these products may interfere with image accuracy.
  • If you take regular medication continue to do so.
  • If you are pregnant or breast feeding it is imperative to advise our staff of this when booking your appointment.
  • If you have breast implants please inform our staff when you are making your appointment so that adequate appointment time is allocated.

Bring any previous mammograms, breast ultrasounds and breast MRI films with you to your appointment.

  • At Southern Radiology we require a written referral from a medical doctor before undertaking any breast imaging examinations. Please ensure you bring your referral with you to your appointment.
  • Bring your Medicare card for billing purposes.

Any preparation advice given is very important to follow. All instructions are aimed at ensuring you receive a safe and accurate examination.

The procedure – What happens during your appointment and mammogram?

The exact procedure for mammography may vary with your specific symptoms and the reason/s for your examination.

Although there may be slight variations in what you can expect when you attend your mammography appointment, as a general guideline:

  • You will need to register with our secretarial staff upon arrival to the practice
  • You will be required to fill out some essential medical history paperwork before we can commence your test
  • Your previous films will be examined by the radiographer and radiologist before commencing your mammogram
  • You will be escorted into the mammography room and asked to remove your clothing and undergarments from the top half of your body
  • In order to take your mammogram the radiographer will position you in a specially designed x-ray unit. Your breast will be placed on the imaging plate and pressure will be applied to the upper side of your breast. This compression is necessary to image breast tissue evenly and accurately. The compression plate will only be applied for a number of seconds. At a minimum, 2 views of each breast will be taken
  • Your attending radiographer will explain and discuss all aspects of your scan with you prior to your examination. Your consent will be sought prior to commencing any part of the procedure
  • After the completion of your mammogram you may be asked to remain on site for an ultrasound
  • For most examinations you will be given your films at the end of your appointment. Your examination report will then be sent to your referring doctor

Appointment length – How long can I expect to be at Southern Radiology?

Your appointment includes the time it takes to:

  • register your details
  • complete important medical history paperwork
  • complete any necessary preparation steps
  • complete the mammogram
  • collect your films

The vast majority of mammogram examinations take 30 minutes but in order to allow for pre- procedural steps as well as aftercare as a general rule we advise you to allow an hour for your appointment.

For examinations with additional views or ultrasound our staff will advise you of any further time requirements.

Is it safe?

Mammography uses x-rays which is a form of ionising radiation. All radiation is cumulative and has associated risks that cannot be avoided. Mammograms are only performed where it is deemed the benefit of the examination will outweigh any potential risks. Mammograms are performed with relatively low dose x-rays. Further, specially calibrated chambers on the mammography machine terminate the x-ray as soon as adequate detail has been recorded.

At Southern Radiology you can be assured that radiation doses are kept to as low as reasonably possible.


Southern Radiology is a leading diagnostic imaging provider who is committed to providing prompt and professional care to both patients and referrers. We are one of the largest medical imaging providers servicing the southern, inner western and eastern suburbs of Sydney and led by our specialist diagnostic imaging radiologists, Southern Radiology provides you comprehensive diagnostic support across all imaging modalities.

Our services include diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, cardiac CT, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine and obstetric and gynaecological imaging. The Southern Radiology network consists of private community and hospital based practices, as well as two imaging research facilities.

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