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3D mammography: Now in Onalaska



Gundersen's Norma J. Vinger Center for Breast Care is expanding 3D mammography to Onalaska.

The Onalaska Clinic now has two 3D mammography units (also known as digital tomosynthesis or DBT). Up until this point, 3D mammography was only offered in La Crosse.

Studies have shown that 3D mammography:

  • Detects some cancers more readily, resulting in earlier diagnosis which, in turn, may result in less aggressive treatment and better outcomes
  • Decreases the number of patients called back for additional testing (false positives), resulting in less anxiety and decreased costs

What is the difference between a standard mammogram and a 3D mammogram?

To understand the difference between 3D mammography and a standard mammogram, think of the difference between a CT scan of the chest and a standard chest X-ray. One is three-dimensional and the other is flat. The benefit of 3D mammography is that breast tissue can be evaluated layer by layer, making fine details more visible and no longer hidden by overlapping tissue.

Although studies have shown all patients may benefit from 3D mammography compared to standard mammography, patients with denser breasts, described as "heterogeneously dense" or "extremely dense" in their mammogram report, benefit more due to more tissue overlap, according to Gundersen breast radiologists.

How much does a 3D mammogram cost?

Medicare covers payment for 3D mammography. If you have private insurance, be sure to ask your insurance company if 3D mammography is a covered benefit before scheduling an appointment. If 3D mammography is not covered but you would like to have it, the out-of-pocket fee is $75.

Anyone who is due for a standard mammogram can elect to have a 3D mammogram. To make an appointment, call the Center for Breast Care at (608) 775-8333. If you have questions, talk to your primary care provider.

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