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Computed breast scan


Computed breast tomography: mammogram CT-scan cancer test

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Computed tomography of the breast

Computed breast scan

Computerized tomography of the breast, imaging of mammary glands – the method of computer X-ray diagnostics, which allows to obtain layer-by-layer scanning of mammary gland tissues. During computed tomography, the patient lies on a horizontal plane in a cylindrical chamber with an X-ray emitter and a sensor.

The image of each slice is transferred to the computer, where it is processed and combined with other data. CT of mammary glands complements the survey mammogram and is used to clarify the prevalence and operability of the tumor process, the interest of the lymph nodes, the germination of the tumor into the chest wall.

Breast X-ray: the history of a method

For the first time, CT began to be performed in the 60s of the XX century, when the American scientist Cormac developed algorithms for tomographic reconstruction, and the English physicist Hounsfield, using this information, constructed the first tomograph. In 1979, the creators were awarded the Nobel Prize.

Over the past period of time, the technique has moved far ahead. Today the research is successfully applied in different branches of medicine. During operation, the device emits X-rays, which pass through the body of the patient, the scanned data are transferred to the computer. There they are processed, images of mammary glands are formed in different projections.

During the study, the diagnostician can change the thickness of the cut up to 1 mm. This allows detecting even minor changes, fixing the initial stages of tumor development and determining small metastases.

There are also other methods of early breast cancer diagnostics. You can read about MRI breast scan.

CT of mammary glands gives the most accurate clinical information about the patient’s health. In this regard, it is of particular value in the diagnosis of breast pathologies. The procedure is prescribed primarily by mammologists, oncologists with a suspected development of breast cancer. The study is not routinely used for preventive purposes. Compared with ultrasound and mammography, computed tomography is more informative.

With its help it is possible to visualize not only soft tissues, but also the underlying structures (muscles, cartilage, bones). Also, during the examination, the diagnostician draws attention to the condition of the lymph nodes for the detection of metastases. In addition, under the control of CT, a specialist can perform some additional manipulations, in particular, withdraw material for biopsy when detecting neoplasms.

Breast X-ray: Indications

Computed tomography of the breast is used as an additional method of diagnosis, when other studies, in particular, ultrasound and mammography, were not informative. Indication for this manipulation can serve as the presence of complaints of pain, discharge from the nipples, deformation of the mammary gland of unknown etiology.

Using CT, it is possible to detect a tumor, to establish the level of its malignancy, to diagnose malformations of the mammary glands. This technique is assigned and, if necessary, determining the operability of the tumor, with the aim of detecting metastases.

Also, specialists use CT of mammary glands to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment after chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Sometimes, manipulation is recommended to assess the condition of the tissues after surgery to prevent possible recurrence of breast cancer. In addition to diagnosing neoplasms, tomography can be assigned to identify bruises, bruises, infiltrates, abscesses, phlegmon of the mammary glands.

Computed tomography allows to evaluate and the quality of surgical intervention: the radical operation, the absence of hematomas and abscesses in the field of surgical treatment.

CT, as well as magnetic resonance imaging, are used to evaluate the effectiveness of chemo- and radiotherapy.

In addition to diagnosing oncological processes, CT can be chosen by a doctor to examine the tissue of the gland in other pathological processes:

  • trauma: assess the presence of bruises, ruptures, bruises of the body;
  • inflammatory processes: abscesses, phlegmon and infiltrates;
  • in plastic surgery: to assess the condition of the implants, as well as to diagnose complications after surgery.

Contraindications to breast CT-scan

Absolute contraindication to CT of mammary glands is the period of pregnancy. This is due to the negative impact of X-rays on the fetus and possible violations of intrauterine development.

It is impossible to conduct a study for children under 12 years of age, up to the specified age, the procedure can be used only in the presence of life-threatening conditions. The procedure is not applied to the body weight of the patient, exceeding the load capacity of the CT device.

This method of diagnosis with caution is prescribed in the presence of multiple myeloma. Study with contrast is not performed in severe kidney pathologies, in case of allergy to the components of the drug. Women during the lactation procedure can be carried out only if the baby is transferred to artificial feeding for a period of 2 days.

Preparation for CT of the breast

The study does not require special preparation for breast X-ray. If manipulation is carried out with the use of contrast medium, you should refrain from eating for 5-6 hours before the procedure. Before CT of mammary glands, all metal accessories should be removed, as they can obscure the area under investigation.

Bank cards, keys, mobile phone and other items should be left in the diagnostician’s office. In addition, before the procedure, the patient must wear cotton underwear or a special sterile dressing gown that is issued immediately before the scan is performed.
Method of conducting

The patient is placed on a special pull-out table, and then moves inside the tomograph. It is important to take a comfortable position to exclude any movement during the research, as this can cause distortion of the images. Staff leaves for the next room.

After that, the specialist turns on the device and proceeds directly to the examination. Monitoring of the patient’s condition and manipulation is carried out through the window that connects both rooms. Also in the scanner there is a device for two-way communication.

Some models are equipped with an emergency call button. During the CT of mammary glands, X-rays fall on the investigated area from different angles, the received data are processed by a computer and displayed on the monitor screen, thus forming numerous scans.

The duration of the study usually does not exceed 30 minutes. With extensive lesions and examination of neighboring structures for the presence of metastases, the duration of the procedure is increased. During the scan, the patient does not feel any discomfort.

The results of computed tomography in the form of digital images are stored in the computer and can be written to a CD or other device. The data obtained can be used both for diagnosis and for evaluating the effectiveness of treatment. When deciphering the results, attention is paid to the presence of neoplasms, their nature, size, the presence of metastases and the extent of their prevalence.

Also, diagnostician can identify purulent foci, degenerative changes, etc. The results of the study affect the final diagnosis and are taken into account when determining therapeutic tactics.

Cost of CT of mammary glands in USA

The cost of the study may vary depending on the clinic. State medical institutions usually offer more affordable price procedures than private centers, but not all municipal hospitals have modern tomographs.

Also, the cost of computer tomography in United States of America is influenced by the time of manipulation. Some clinics offer night scanning at reduced prices. If a biopsy of pathological foci is performed during the study, then the prices for CT of mammary glands in USA are significantly increased in comparison with the standard diagnostic procedure.


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Anastasia Prikhodko
Assistant nurse at the regional hospital of the city of Kalmar. Creator, owner and inspirer of a project