Breast Health Program

Breast imaging

Breast imaging includes mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, positron emission mammography, breast specific gamma imaging and thermography. These tools help your doctor determine whether or not your breast is healthy, needs to have a biopsy or needs to be watched closely for changes. Breast imaging does not find 100 percent of cancers, therefore clinical breast exam and your breast self-exam also play an important part in finding breast cancers as early as possible. 


An annual mammogram can often spot early-stage breast cancer years before a clinical breast exam. Early detection doesn’t prevent breast cancer, but it decreases the chance of dying from breast cancer by 40 percent.

At NAH, our Imaging Department uses advanced breast tomosynthesis − also known as 3-D mammography − to ensure patients have the most advanced technologies and treatments available. This kind of mammogram, which finds cancers traditional mammograms may miss, is especially effective for women under 50, pre-menopausal women and women with dense breasts.

In women with very dense breasts, automated whole breast ultrasound can also be used to screening for cancers mammography may not detect.

Breast MRI is utilized to screen high risk women, such as those who carry a specific genetic predisposition for breast cancer, women who have had previous atypical cells on a breast biopsy and those who have a greater than 20 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer based upon breast cancer risk models.

To schedule a 3-D mammogram at Verde Valley Medical Center, Northern Arizona Healthcare – Sedona, or Verde Valley Medical Imaging Center call central scheduling at 928-639-6580.

Abnormal mammographic finding or a palpable mass

An abnormal screening mammogram or palpable breast mass means you need diagnostic studies such as diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound or breast MRI. If any of these studies are suspicious, you may also need a minimally invasive breast biopsy.

Diagnostic studies

A diagnostic study is ordered when the radiologist sees something on your screening studies requiring additional evaluation.  Sometimes the dense tissue in the breast is sitting on top of other dense tissue, creating an area of concern. An additional spot compression mammography may prove the area is not truly suspicious and a biopsy may not be warranted.

On the other hand, spot magnification views of microcalcifications can allow us to see more clearly that a region warrants a minimally invasive biopsy to test the tissue. 

Breast biopsy

A minimally invasive breast biopsy performed by a breast surgeon or radiologist will determine if a lesion is cancerous, pre-cancerous or benign (not cancer). This means samples of the tissue are extracted from the breast with guidance from a mammogram, ultrasound or MRI. Once the tissue is removed, it is sent to the pathologist for evaluation.


We are here to help answer your questions or assist you with scheduling an appointment. Call us today.