Mammography & Screening
Altru’s mammography facility is certified by the FDA and has received accreditation from the American College of Radiology meeting MQSA standards. All mammography offered at Altru is digital, meaning you receive the most advanced technology and highest quality of care in the early detection of breast cancer.
Your mammogram will include:
- An assessment of your breast cancer risk, including your personal, family and medical history
- Following interpretation of your mammogram by a radiologist, a written report will be sent to your primary care provider
- As well as a letter sent to you with your mammogram results including follow-up recommendations.
To schedule your mammogram, call 701.780.6157.
Ultrasound is a very useful tool in the early detection of breast cancer and is often used to help interpret a mammogram or help in the evaluation of a breast lump or finding on physical examination.
Most often it is used to help determine cystic (or fluid filled) masses from solid masses.
Altru’s ultrasound department works in close collaboration with the breast center physicians and mammography technologists.
Altru's ultrasound department is accredited through the American College of Radiology.
Altru’s Breast Center offers a 1.5 Tesla magnet and dedicated breast coil, which is used to obtain images of the breasts after the patient receives an intravenous contrast injection. Based on a patient’s personal and family history, breast MRI may be recommended in select patients where it is used as an adjunct screening tool to mammography for the early detection of breast cancer. Additionally, in a select group of patients, as determined by a physician, MRI may also be used as a diagnostic or problem-solving test.
Breast Biopsy and Aspiration
Altru's Breast Center routinely performs hundreds of image guided biopsy procedures annually. The Center routinely performs stereotactic, ultrasound and MRI guided biopsies to aid in the detection and diagnosis of both benign (non-cancerous) breast findings and breast cancer. Ultrasound-guided biopsies are accredited through the American College of Radiology.
What to expect during a breast biopsy?
- Patients will want to arrive to Altru’s Breast Center in loose and comfortable clothing. While it is always welcome and may be comforting to have a loved one or friend accompany you to and from a breast procedure, it is not necessary. In fact, the majority of the patients come to their procedure appointment alone.
- First and foremost, our goal is to keep our patients comfortable and relaxed throughout the biopsy procedure. Patients will be accompanied throughout the procedure by one of our skilled professional staff.
- Prior to undergoing a biopsy, the patient will meet with the performing physician to discuss the procedure and answer any questions that they may have with regards to the procedure.
- A breast biopsy is performed using a sterile technique and local numbing anesthesia. The biopsy equipment is guided to the correct location by using either mammogram (stereotactic) images, ultrasound or MRI. Once the appropriate position is determined, multiple samples are taken through a single small skin nick or incision. Typically, a tiny biopsy clip or marker is placed at the site where the biopsy was performed. The marker is used to identify where samples were taken from and, in the event that more tissue needs to be removed, the clip would then mark the area for additional removal. Follow up mammogram images are often performed so that the performing physician can see the biopsy site and the clip. The patients are sent home with both verbal and detailed written instructions as to how to care for the biopsy site.
- Biopsy samples are evaluated by a pathologist at Altru, and patients can expect to receive results directly within two to three business days.