Mammogram – what is BI-RADS and what does it mean to me?

BI-RADS stands for the Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data System. Along with breast density, it is the only other mandated requirement to appear in your breast report. Your BI-RADS score determines your next course of action. Structured data reporting and collection began with mammography. Just as Apple has the iEverything, the American College of Radiology (ACR) as the […]

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Mammogram – What does my breast density mean?

Every screening mammogram report should include an assessment for breast density. It may include a callback letter requesting you return for further evaluation. Mammographically, the breasts are made of two types of tissue: fat and fibroglandular tissue (glands and ducts for milk production and the supporting structures and ligaments). By convention from old film screen […]

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Mammogram – When to start and when to stop

There are several recommendations floating around out there with controversy stirred most recently in 2009 by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), which recommended screening mammograms every other year for women above the age 50 with women 40-50 choosing when to start. The USPSTF also recommends against teaching women breast self-examination.   Before going […]

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Mammogram – What does my callback letter mean?

So, you just received a callback letter from your screening mammogram. This is NOT the time to panic. There are many factors that could influence a radiologist’s decision to call a patient back for additional imaging. If you asked me what exams in radiology seemed the most artful, relying on skill, talent, and utilizing clinical […]

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Gadolinium Deposition Disease – What is it and do I need contrast for my MRI?

Gadolinium is the chemical element with symbol Gd and atomic number 64. It is a special heavy metal with a structure making it strongly paramagnetic. Paramagnetism is an intrinsic property of certain materials which causes the element to become temporarily magnetized when placed in an external magnetic field (an MRI). It is this unique property that makes gadolinium an ideal […]

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How to decrease or eliminate radiation exposure in medical imaging

As a radiologist we have a guiding principle that is almost a mantra, an amendment to the Hippocratic oath, ALARA. Radiologists are trained to keep radiation exposure As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). To achieve ALARA a radiologist must always be cognizant of time, distance, and shielding. The goal being to minimize exposure time, maximize […]

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+PPD – what does that really mean and should I be freaking out?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne bacteria spread by coughing making it a public health threat… A + PPD test result could be an indicator of latent or active TB infection… The grand takeaway is that if you have a + PPD it is highly unlikely that you have active contagious TB, even if you are coughing.

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