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Digital Mammograms and Traditional Mammograms



Since both digital and conventional mammography uses x-ray radiation to produce an image of the breast, however conventional mammography stores the image directly on firm.  Digital Mammography takes an electronic image of the breast and stores it directly in a computer.  This allows the recorded data to be enhanced, magnified, or manipulated for further evaluation. 


                           Digital Mammogram -- Displacement Technique for Breast Implants

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Basically the difference boils down to a traditional film camera versus a newer digital camera.  The digital system is equipped with a digital receptor and a computer instead of a film cassette.  The only real difference is the way the image is stored. 

Digital Mammograms were FDA Approved January 2000.  The cost of digital mammograms versus traditional mammograms can be as much as four times higher.



Advantages of Mammograms:

  • Digital mammography allows a radiologist to electronically adjust, store, and retrieve digital images. 

  • Mammograms also are much better at locating micro-calcifications than an MRI


                                  Mammogram showing localized calcifications and showing diffuse calcifications       



These features may offer the following advantages over conventional mammography:

  •  Long-distance consultations with other mammography specialists may be easier due to the fact a file can be transmitted electronically.

  • Subtle differences between normal and abnormal tissues may be easily noted.

  • The number of follow-up procedures needed may be fewer.

  • Fewer repeat images may be needed, reducing exposure to radiation.



The researchers found that digital mammography was significantly better at detecting breast cancers than film mammography in three groups of women:

  • Women who were younger than 50

  • Women who had dense breasts

  • Women who were pre-menopausal or peri-menopausal (had their last period within a year of their mammograms)


The researchers found that digital mammograms had NO benefit over film mammograms for women who were:

  • Women older than 50 years of age

  • Women who did not have dense breasts

  • Women that were post-menopausal

Digital mammography can be done only in facilities that are certified to practice conventional

mammography and have received FDA approval to offer digital mammography.



                                          Mammogram Machine on

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                                                     Mammogram Machine








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