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3D Diagnostic Mammography

If a Washington Radiology breast imaging radiologist notices something on a patient’s screening mammogram that requires further evaluation, the patient may be called back for additional images in the form of a diagnostic mammogram or targeted breast ultrasound. The diagnostic mammogram or breast ultrasound serves as the next step to clarify any abnormalities detected during a screening mammogram or physical breast exam by a physician in addition to breast changes that are noticed by a patient. Women detecting abnormalities during a breast self-exam should contact their primary care physician for an examination or immediate referral for a diagnostic mammogram and possible targeted breast ultrasound. Abnormalities may include a new breast lump, dimpling or puckering of the skin, focal pain in the breast, or nipple discharge.


An order from your physician is required for all diagnostic services, including diagnostic mammograms, as part of the continuum of care provided to you by Washington Radiology and your physician of record. Results of your diagnostic mammogram will be delivered to your physician, who will be an integral part of the diagnostic, and, if needed, treatment process.

A diagnostic mammogram is similar to a screening mammogram with one main difference. During a screening mammogram, the goal is to adequately capture images of tissue in both breasts. The goal of a diagnostic mammogram is to provide clarity around a targeted area, typically in a single breast, or as a follow up after surgery or a found abnormality. During a diagnostic mammogram you will have a consultation with a breast radiologist and receive your results before you leave the center. A diagnostic mammogram may take up to 1 hour. Appointments that include both a diagnostic mammogram and an additional diagnostic procedure, such as a breast ultrasound or cyst aspiration, may take longer.

Coverage of diagnostic services may differ depending on your insurance provider. For questions about pricing and coverage, we recommend you call the Washington Radiology insurance team.

You may be referred for a diagnostic mammogram as a follow-up to a screening mammogram that resulted in inconclusive results or that identified an area of concern that warranted further evaluation. Women who have been previously diagnosed with breast cancer and those who are in need of short-interval follow-ups may also be referred for a diagnostic mammogram. It is important to note that most diagnostic mammograms result in benign findings.

Reasons for a diagnostic mammogram include:

  • Supplemental views to provide clarity around a specific area of breast tissue seen on screening mammogram
  • Evaluation of physical breast exam findings found by your physician
  • Evaluation of symptoms noticed by yourself such as palpable lump, skin dimpling, nipple discharge
  • Short-term follow-up monitoring of probably benign findings
  • Follow-up imaging after breast cancer or the discovery of a high-risk lesion based on your surgeon’s recommendation

Preparing for Your Exam

The day of your exam:

  • Wear a two-piece outfit, so that you will need to remove only your top and bra. We provide comfortable privacy capes to wear during your visit.
  • Don’t apply deodorant before your exam. It can appear as white spots on images and cause an unnecessary return visit.
  • Don’t apply lotion, powder, cream or perfume on the day before or the day of your exam.
  • Please eat and do not fast before your visit.

Please note:

  • If this is your first mammogram with Washington Radiology, bring your mammography records or have them transferred before your appointment. Your old records will be compared to your new exam images for a thorough evaluation by our breast radiologists. Delay in transferring records can result in delayed delivery of mammogram results.
  • Arrive 15 minutes before your appointment and bring the doctor's order if not already sent and the names of other physicians who should also get your mammography report.
  • Call us if you have questions before your appointment.

Our Locations


Fairfax, VA


3022 Williams Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031

Chevy Chase, MD


4445 Willard Avenue
Suite 200
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Washington, DC


2141 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Potomac, MD


12505 Park Potomac Avenue
Potomac, MD 20854

Sterling, VA


21351 Ridgetop Circle
Sterling, VA 20166

Germantown: Mammo, DEXA


20410 Observation Drive
Suite 203
Germantown, MD 20876

Bel Air, Colonnade


100 Fulford Avenue
Bel Air, MD 21014

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