A screening mammogram creates a digital image. The image is created electronically and read on a computer screen. A digital mammogram works better at finding breast cancer than a traditional mammogram done with X-ray film in pre- and perimenopausal woman. Women in this age group tend to have denser breast tissue. This tissue is better assessed with a digital method. The traditional mammogram is called analog mammography. No matter the type of equipment used, don't skip your mammogram because a digital mammogram is not available.
Digital technology offers several potential advantages over the current film method for mammography. Unlike film images, digital images:
Can be stored and transferred electronically
Are less likely to get lost
Can be manipulated to correct for underexposure or overexposure. This may prevent the need for another mammogram.
Allow radiologists to use software to help interpret or read them
Have a large dynamic range that allows examination of all areas of the breast, despite varying densities
Have a lower average radiation dose
Many of the mammography machines in use today are digital units. The process of getting a digital mammogram is just like a regular mammogram. In fact, the only way you may know what type you get is to ask the technologist working with you.