Women’s Health Services in Richmond, VA
Mammography Screening Services
Please note: if you are a patient of The Ellen Shaw de Paredes Institute for Women’s Imaging and are scheduling an appointment for a screening mammogram at VPFW, we recommend obtaining any breast imaging you received at Paredes and bringing the images to your appointment.
Mammogram in Richmond, VA: Trusted Mammography Services at Four Locations
We know how important preventive care is when it comes to breast health. But in your busy life, keeping up with your annual screening mammograms can be difficult (and scary) – even when you know they could save your life. That’s why we have four mammogram centers in Richmond, VA, each offering 3D mammogram technology:
Why Choose VPFW for Your Mammogram Procedure
VPFW is accredited by The American College of Radiology, and our highly trained technologists make you feel comfortable from the moment you arrive throughout your screening. The entire process only takes about 15 minutes. Under the supervision of VPFW physicians, we partner with experts at Radiology Associates of Richmond to read our mammography scans, and patients should receive their results in two weeks or less.
No matter which of our four locations you’re scheduled to have mammography in Richmond, VA, or in the surrounding areas, please note that each has an FDA-Certified Mammography Facility. We use full-field, digital, low-dose mammography equipment to assist in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.
Update on Richmond Mammogram Scheduling at VPFW
*Update on mammogram scheduling with respect to COVID-19 vaccination*
As of Sept. 28, 2021, it is recommended that patients no longer need to wait to have a screening mammogram after receiving a COVID vaccine. This applies to any vaccine dose including boosters.
Call us at 804-897-2100 if you have questions about scheduling your annual screening mammogram.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mammograms
Having a regular clinical breast exam is the easiest way to find breast cancer early or determine if you are a high-risk patient. If you’re feeling uneasy about your current state of health, are ready to go beyond a breast self-exam, or need other assistance with breast care, here are some frequently asked questions about mammograms that can help you take the next step on your journey to improved health.
When should I get a mammogram?
Our physicians recommend that women aged 40 and older should have a mammogram done every year to detect any abnormalities or changes. If your mother or sister has or had breast cancer, we recommend that you begin getting annual screening mammograms beginning 10 years earlier than when this family memberwas diagnosed.
Of course, the best way to determine when you should get a mammogram is to discuss your family medical history, risk factors, and any questions and concerns you may have with your provider. Learn more about Screening Mammograms: When to Start, the Odds of Getting “Called Back” and How They Can Save Your Life by Dr. Emily Stone.
What should I expect during my mammogram?
When you arrive for your mammogram, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and change into a gown. The technologist will go over a list of medical history questions with you and then perform the mammogram. The breast is briefly compressed in two different projections.
The total exam takes about 10 minutes. Sometimes extra images are taken to include all of the breast tissue. Learn more about how to prepare for your screening mammogram appointment at VPFW.
Do mammograms hurt?
When going for a mammogram, it’s natural to be concerned about the extent of pain or discomfort the procedure may cause. Before going for an exam, it helps to know what to expect, whether it would hurt, and the probable side effects, if any.
Before we delve into the pain aspect, it’s important to touch upon the technicalities involved in the mammogram. For the purpose of the X-ray, the breast tissue needs to be spread out so the projected image can clearly detect any lumps or other inconsistencies.
This means you may feel the pressure against your breast as it is compressed by a plate while the X-ray image is being captured from various angles. But rest assured that this step of the procedure lasts for a few minutes only.
However, keep in mind that it is normal to feel pain or discomfort from the pressure applied by the machine during the exam. All the same, it helps to know that most women feel only some amount of discomfort and no pain, and others feel extreme pain during the screening. Still, others feel nothing at all as they’re being screened.
The reason for the differing amounts of pain can be attributed to the following factors:
- Size and structure of the breast
- Presence of harmless cysts on the breast
- Whether the screening is held during or immediately before a period, which can increase breast sensitivity
- Tolerance for pain
- Positioning of the machine
A combination of these factors can greatly influence the amount of pain or discomfort felt during or after the exam. To reduce the overall breast sensitivity, schedule the mammogram a week after the menstrual period, if possible. Also, if extreme discomfort or pain is felt during the screening, it is important to let the technologist know as it could be because of improper positioning or the wrong height of the equipment.
Should I expect pain post screening?
Most women do not feel any pain at all after the exam. However, some may continue to feel some amount of lingering pain or tenderness while some may even experience minor bruising. To reduce discomfort or pain, it’s recommended to avoid wearing a bra with an underwire for the rest of the day after the screening. Wearing a padded sports bra instead might help relieve the discomfort.
Women who’re particularly concerned about the probable pain may want to consult their healthcare provider regarding the suitability of taking pain medicine. Based on their medical history, the physician will determine whether taking over-the-counter pain medication before the screening would be the right course of action.
How do I access my mammogram results?
If you opt to receive your results via email:
When you come for your appointment, you will be given a card with instructions for entering a passcode in order to view your results. Keep this card! Your results will be sent to you via email from firstname.lastname@example.org within 7-10 business days of your mammogram (provided we have your prior mammograms at the time of your exam). Use the passcode instructions on the card to access your results in the attachment of this email.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 804-897-2100 ext. 1789.
If you opt to receive your results via mail:
Your results will be sent to the mailing address provided within 7-10 business days of your mammogram, provided we have your prior mammograms at the time of your exam.
What happens if you find something?
We know it’s not easy, but it’s important to remember to not panic. The majority of lumps found in breasts are benign. If a radiologist does detect an abnormality in your scan, then you will be referred to the hospital for further screening.
You will have a follow-up mammogram and/or breast ultrasound done. If needed, you may also have a biopsy.
Learn more in Dr. Emily Stone’s blog post, Screening Mammograms: When to Start, the Odds of Getting “Called Back” and How They Can Save Your Life.
Can I get my mammogram done at VPFW even if I’ve gone somewhere else for previous screenings?
Of course! Whether you are a new or established patient, you can always choose to schedule your mammogram at any of our Richmond, VA locations (West Creek, Koger Center (formerly Midlothian Turnpike), St. Francis) or at our Colonial Heights/Prince George office.
If your previous mammograms were performed at any of the following HCA or Bon Secours Mercy Health facilities, then the radiologist can request electronic access to those images. You do not need to obtain them yourself.
- Johnston-Willis Hospital
- John Randolph Medical Center
- Retreat Doctors Hospital
- Henrico Doctors Hospital
- Chippenham Hospital
- Independence Park Imaging
- Appomattox Imaging Center
- Chesterfield Imaging Center
- Richmond Women’s Specialists
- St. Mary’s Women’s Imaging Center
- St. Francis Medical Center
- Richmond Community Hospital
- Bon Secours Imaging Center at Reynolds Crossing
- Memorial Regional Medical Center
- Laburnum Diagnostic
- Westchester Imaging Center
- Richmond OB-Gyn at St. Francis
- Bon Secours Imaging Center at Innsbrook
If your previous mammograms were not performed at an HCA or Bon Secours Mercy Health facility, please obtain the CDs of your images prior to your appointment.
Please be aware that most facilities require advanced notice to prepare your mammography images, so please contact them as soon as possible if you plan to pick them up yourself.
To schedule your annual screening mammogram, give us a call at 804-897-2100 or set an appointment online.
Hear what VPFW mammography patients are saying:
“I had my first mammogram today, and I’m so happy with how the experience went. As with any new procedure, I was a little nervous, but Felicia made all that go away in an instant. She was warm, engaging, and knowledgeable. She explained everything beautifully and continued to make sure I understood and was comfortable throughout the entire exam. I just cannot thank her enough! You guys are lucky to have such an awesome employee.”
“So grateful for Dr. Emily Stone and a 3D mammogram, which showed my breast cancer when a regular mammogram did not. My lump was as big as a baseball!”