Medical Imaging

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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (click for details)

Mammogram

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a diagnostic x-ray procedure of the breasts and is very helpful in detecting breast cancer.

Why does a women need to undergo a mammogram?

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in Singapore constituting more than 20% of all cancers. Thus, a mammogram should be performed yearly, as an abnormality can develop any time.

When do I need to go for mammogram?

According to the American Cancer Society, any woman between 40 - 49 years old should have a mammogram done every 1 - 2 years. As for women over 50 years old, mammogram should be done on a yearly basis.

What do I need to prepare before mammogram?

No preparation or fasting is required and you can have it done any time. But do not use power or deodorant on your breasts or armpits on the day of examination, as it will affect the x-ray image. It will be more convenient to wear a blouse rather than a dress, as you will be asked to undress from waist up.

How long is the examination?

It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to perform the examination.

Do mammograms hurt?

Mammograms may be uncomfortable because it is necessary to spread the breast tissue out as evenly as possible to obtain a good image. If the pain is unbearable, please inform the radiographer so that she can reposition the breast.

Ultrasound

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a technique which uses high frequency ultrasonic waves to produce images. It is radiation free and safe for everyone including pregnant women and children.

Why is a breast ultrasound necessary?

It evaluates a lump or an abnormality seen on a mammogram and it complements the findings in a mammogram.

Is any preparation needed before breast ultrasound?

No preparation is needed.

Bone Mineral Density (BMD)

What are the common risk factors for developing osteoporosis?

Women with the following characteristics are more prone to osteoporosis:

  • Thin or small framed
  • Approaching or past menopause
  • Milk intolerant or have a low calcium intake
  • A cigarette smoker or drink alcohol in excess
  • Have a family history of osteoporosis
  • Chronic intestinal disorders

When should I consider a Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test?

A BMD test is recommended :

  • for all women 40-years old or older who have sustained a fracture
  • for all women beyond 65 years of age
  • for women who have x-ray findings that suggest osteoporosis
  • for risk assessment in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women who have risk factors for fractures. "Perimenopausal" is a term applied to the several years preceding menopause.

Computerized Tomography (CT)

Why is CT useful?

It makes use of x-ray and a computer to give three dimensional images. It allows the radiologist to view cross sections of the body at different angles as compared to general x-ray pictures which are one-dimensional only.

What is the contrast injection that I may receive during the scan?

It is a "dye" which enhances the ability of CT scans to pick up abnormalities. Majority of patients need contrast injection and it is routinely performed.

What is the preparation needed before the scan?

6 hours of fasting is only needed for certain scans and you will be advised accordingly. Relevant old films are needed for comparison, so it is important to bring them along for the scan. Please also inform the nurse or radiographer if you are likely to be pregnant or on medication for conditions like asthma, diabetes, cardiac or kidney diseases etc.

PET/CT

What does PET/CT scan do for someone diagnosed with cancer or other serious illnesses?

PET can effectively pinpoint the source of many of the most common cancers and give physicians important early information about heart and neurological diseases, eliminating the need for redundant tests and diagnostic surgical procedures.

Do patients experience any reactions as a result of undergoing a PET/CT scan?

Patients typically do not experience any reactions as a result of the PET/CT scan because the tracer material is processed by the body naturally. Therefore, no side effects are expected.

 

Mammograms may be uncomfortable because it is necessary to spread the breast tissue out as evenly as possible to obtain a good image. If the pain is unbearable, please inform the radiographer so that she can reposition the breast.