About - Hospitals - Programs and Services - Outpatient - Locations - Giving
Mammography / Mammogram
Home > Patient Education > Mammography / Mammogram

Preparation for Test

Welcome and thank you for choosing Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for your mammogram. Our physicians and technologists are dedicated to providing highly skilled and compassionate care for you and your family. We understand that you may be apprehensive about your procedure. We hope the following information will be helpful to you as you prepare for the procedure and during recovery.

  Click here for more information and a list of all Mammogram locations within the Conemaugh Health System

We want to make your experience as comfortable as possible. If you have any questions or concerns that are not answered here, please do not hesitate to call your physician or the Mammography Unit at the location you choose or at between 8 AM and 3 PM.

Before your Test

You or your physician’s office will schedule the date and time of your appointment with Central Scheduling. They will instruct you on any special preparations or instructions you need and what time to arrive at the hospital or your location. If you can’t remember when you are scheduled or the instructions please call the office you are scheduled at or Central Scheduling at (814) 534-9186 or 800-999-9675.

If you have questions about your insurance coverage or pre-certification, call your insurance company. If you don’t have insurance or the cost is not fully covered by your insurance you may qualify for a free mammogram. Call the Mammogram Voucher Program toll-free at 1-888-687-0505. If you are not covered by insurance, please make arrangements for payment by calling the business office at (814) 410-8470.

You may want to schedule your exam at a time of the month when your breasts are less tender. Avoid the week right before your period. You may also want to avoid caffeine for the week prior to your test if you have sensitive breasts.

If you develop a cough, cold, abnormal temperature, sore throat or flu-like symptoms; or if you come in contact with anyone suffering from measles, chickenpox or any other communicable disease within 2 weeks prior to your scan; please call your physician. It may be necessary to reschedule your scan for a time when you are feeling better.

You will be exposed to a low amount of radiation from the x-ray. If you are pregnant or think you might be, or if you are breast-feeding, tell the doctor and technologist before your test.

The radiologist needs your films and reports from previous mammograms for comparison. If you had your last mammogram at a different facility please bring the most recent films or arrange to have them sent here. The reports from previous mammograms are also helpful.

The Day of your Test

Shower or bathe the morning of your procedure. Please do not use deodorants, body powders, lotions, creams or perfumes to your underarms or chest area. They may affect how the test is interpreted. Please wear loose-fitting, clean, comfortable clothing to make it easier to undress.

If there are no contraindications or instructions from you physician and you have used a mild over-the-counter pain reliever in the past, it may help reduce the discomfort of the exam. It will work best if taken about an hour prior to the test.

Please bring any order that your physicians office provided for you. If you were not contacted by pre-certification please bring your identification and insurance cards.

Parking is available in the parking lots outside of the buildings. At the Main campus you can park in the garage on Franklin Street or use the valet at the Main Entrance on Franklin Street. Please bring your parking ticket with you to receive a token for free parking in the garage. At the Lee Campus you can park in the garage on Walnut Street. Please remember to bring your ticket with you to receive a rebate ticket for free parking in the garage. You will need to take both tickets back to the garage on the first floor. First you will need to put your parking ticket in the machine and then the rebate ticket. You will be given another ticket to exit the garage.

When you arrive at the hospital on the day of your procedure, check in at the Outpatient Registration desk. At the Main Campus it is to the left in the main lobby on the first floor. If you are going to the Lee Campus the Outpatient Registration Desk is in the main Lobby. You will be registered and then escorted to the Mammography department waiting area. Once there you will sign in at the reception desk. If you were pre-registered you can go directly to the radiology department.

Healthcare professionals will be available in this area to make you comfortable and to answer your questions. Your safety is our number one priority.

The staff may ask you the same questions several times; they will ask your name, birth date, what procedure you are having done, your medications and your allergies. By repeating our questions, we are verifying and re-verifying very important information to ensure that your time with us is as safe as possible.

During the Test

You will go into a dressing room and asked to remove all clothing and jewelry from the waist up and change into a gown. Lockers are available for your clothing. You will wait in the mammogram waiting area. The female mammography technologist will escort you into the room. She will explain everything that is happening. You will need to remove your gown to expose your breast but the technologist will maintain your privacy by keeping you covered as much as possible. The room will be darkened for better visualization on the monitor.

Please inform her if you are pregnant or think you may be; have breast implants; had a breast biopsy or surgery; are breastfeeding or have any scars or moles on or near your breasts. The technologist will place a removable, adhesive-metallic-alloy marker on any raised moles or visible scars. This will identify previous surgical sites or areas that may potentially look like masses. The markers will also be placed on your nipples as a reference to indicate measurement from the skin line.

You will need to stand in front of a large x-ray machine specifically designed to take breast x-rays. Only the breasts are exposed to the x-ray. It has a platform to place your breast on. The technologist will set the platform to the right height and place your breast on top. Another plastic plate is over top of your breast. The plates are moved closer together and a gentle firm pressure is applied that will compress your breast. You may feel uncomfortable for the few seconds necessary to get an accurate picture. This is not harmful and will not damage your breast tissue. This will enable the tissue deep within your breast to be visualized. Please inform the technologist if this causes significant pain. She may have to use less compression.

You will need to stand still and asked to hold your breath for a couple seconds. She will take at least 2 pictures of each breast. The different views will be from the top and one from the side. Once each view is complete she will open the plastic compression plates and remove your breast. You will need to change position between views. The process will be repeated on the opposite side. The process only takes a few minutes and is called a screening mammogram.

A diagnostic mammogram is ordered due to a suspicion of breast disease, pertinent medical history or breasts that are difficult to examine due to size or implants. You will have additional pictures taken. The technologist may magnify any suspicious areas and take additional views. This exam takes a little longer up to 45 minutes.

After your Test

When your x-ray is over, the technologist will have you sit in the waiting area while they check to make sure all the images are clear. Once they confirm that the films are acceptable you will be able to get dressed and go home.

The technologist cannot discuss results with you. Your time in the mammography department will vary between 20 to 45 minutes per exam depending on the procedure you are having done.

Before the results are sent to the radiologist a Computer- Aided Detection analysis is performed with a FDA approved device that uses special software to identify the more subtle, suspicious areas that may warrant a second look. It helps reduce the number of false positive or negative readings.

The exam will be reviewed by a Radiologist and the results will be sent to the doctor who ordered your exam. Your results will be sent to you in the mail and reviewed with you at your next physician’s office visit. If your testing was ordered STAT by your physician, a preliminary report will be phoned or faxed to them shortly after the completion of your test.

Once the results are read you may be asked to return for an additional mammogram. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have breast disease. Something may be unclear to or need additional inspection by the radiologist.

Thank-you for allowing us to care for you during your Mammogram.