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Summa Adopts 3D Mammography

Earlier breast cancer detection. Fewer false alarms.

Summa Health has adopted 3D mammography for all mammograms. Women can now choose 3D or 2D mammograms. With the introduction of 3D mammography at eight imaging locations throughout northeast Ohio, Summa becomes the only hospital in the region to provide this breakthrough technology for both screening and diagnostic exams at all its locations.

 In 2015, Summa installed the FDA-approved 3D mammography technology because it allows earlier detection of potential breast cancers and reduces unnecessary callbacks. 

According to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), 3D mammography (versus 2D mammography alone) detects 41 percent more invasive breast cancers and reduces false positives by up to 40 percent 1-2*.  

How 3D Mammography Detects Cancer Earlier

3D mammography, also called tomosynthesis, allows physicians to examine breast tissue layer-by-layer, in multiple views and with fine details more visible, instead of viewing breast tissue using a conventional 2D flat image.

These extra exam views help physicians better distinguish invasive cancers, especially in women with dense breast tissue which can obscure views in a 2D mammogram. The result is earlier detection of potential breast cancers and fewer “call-backs” for false positives.

What Happens During 3D Mammography

Advanced technology allows 3D imaging to be performed along with a traditional 2D digital mammogram. This provides radiologists the ability to compare new 2D images to prior 2D images. During the 3D portion of the exam, the X-ray arm makes a quick four-second arc over the breast, taking dozens of images at various angles. These exceptionally sharp images are viewed individually and reconstructed.

A 2D mammogram is similar to viewing the cover of a book while a 3D image shows each individual page.

How 3D Mammograms Reduce Callbacks and More Tests

In the 2D mammogram image (below, far left), there is a potential lesion in the breast. In the 3D tomosynthesis mammogram (5 images below on the right), the physician can see that there is no lesion present. (Source: Hologic, Case- 2384798 Superimposed Parenchyma )

2D vs 3D Mammogram

Who Should Have a 3D Mammogram

3D mammography is approved by the FDA for all women undergoing a screening mammogram and for follow-up exams. Multiple studies show that most women, regardless of breast type or density, benefit from 3D mammography versus 2D mammography alone 1-2*. Patients may request a 3D exam or a 2D only exam. A physician order is not needed for a 3D or 2D mammogram. 

Dense Breast Tissue

2D mammograms have been shown to miss 20 percent of early cancers, particularly in women with dense breast tissue. 3D mammography provides multiple views for more clarity, especially in dense breast tissue that may obscure views. Twenty states, including Ohio, now require mammography departments to notify patients if their results show dense breast tissue. If appropriate, patients can then seek additional images.

The Benefits of Early Diagnosis

  • Breast cancer treatment can be started sooner
  • There is an increased opportunity for less traumatic treatment
  • The risk for death from cancer is reduced

Advanced Services

Summa offers complete breast diagnostic and care services in Northeast Ohio in Summit, Portage and Medina counties. Our dedicated breast specialists use the latest advances to prevent, detect and fight cancer, including:

  • 3D Screening mammograms
  • 3D Diagnostic mammograms
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Breast MRI
  • Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy
  • Breast care nurse navigators
  • Breast specialists — physicians, oncologists, pathologists
  • Infusion therapy
  • Clinical trials

Insurance Coverage

3D mammography is approved by the FDA. Medicare, Medicaid and SummaCare healthcare plans cover the cost of 3D mammography. Some insurance companies may not yet reimburse for the 3D portion of the exam. Check with your provider.

"A Woman's Guide to Breast Health"

Make your appointment for a digital mammogram at one of Summa’s convenient locations in Northeast Ohio by calling (888) 720-5318. You also can request an appointment online any time. When you call, be sure to ask for a FREE copy of "A Woman's Guide to Breast Health".

*Versus 2D mammography alone


1. Friedewald S, Rafferty E, Rose S, et al. Breast cancer screening using tomosynthesis in combination with digital mammography. JAMA. 2014;311(24):2499-2507.

2. Rose S,Tidwell A, Bujnock L, et al. Implementation of breast tomosynthesis in a routine screening practice: an observational study. AJR AM J Roentgenol. 2013;200(6):1401-1408.