A: Mammography Technologists! Q: Who Do We Love?
This week, we’d like to introduce you to some of the people you will meet in your mammography experience. There are a few special, important people you’ll encounter along the way, all with a focus on getting you – and us, your radiologists – the best breast imaging possible. Your mammogram takes a team working seamlessly together to achieve quality results. We love our breast imaging team!
Let’s start by introducing the person you will interact with the most – your mammography technologist. This is the person (often a woman) who will help walk you through the mammography procedure and who will actually take the images of your breasts.
Mammo techs, as we affectionately call them, are trained professionals in women’s breast imaging. These technologists train first as radiology technologists, and then have to undergo specialized education in breast health and imaging. They must continue to undergo additional education specific to mammography each year to continue working.
…are for talking to
This is the person to let know of any fears, apprehensions or concerns you have about the mammogram – helping you get through the procedure is part of their job. Their first step is to review your relevant family and breast surgical history, and to make sure the mammogram is screening (that is, you are asymptomatic) or to find out what symptoms you are having if it is diagnostic. The technologist will likely ask about deodorant use (remember it can show up and look abnormal). The mammo tech will position you just so (so that all of the breast tissue is included in the image), apply the compression which only lasts a matter of seconds and take the image. After the image appears (if done digital, this will be nearly instantaneous – if filmscreen, the technologist will exit the room to develop the film), the next step is making sure it is a quality image – there are lots of things that go into this, including looking for signs of motion, making sure all of the necessary tissue is included and making sure the compression is adequate.
…because they’ll make your life better!
Mammo techs are people who have committed their professional lives to ensure the best possible health of the women they meet. We think they’re awesome.
As one of our super mammography techs shyly put it, “Not to boast, but when someone says I did a good job, I tell them, ‘I can only do as good a job as you’ll let me – it’s a team thing, we’re in this together!’” And it’s true. If you come in for a mammogram you are part of the solution – part of the positive action that’s creating your best possible health.
What do you think of when you hear someone is a mammography technologist? They have an unusual job, and let’s be honest, not everyone would be comfortable doing what they do. But mammography techs are caring professionals, skilled at all parts of the job – including the part that helps you get through a personal, stressful exam. They are definitely people who care about people. When asked, “How do you do this everyday?” one technologist humorously replied, “Well, there are a lot of nice people attached to my work.” And it’s true. They’re helping whole people, not just body parts.
And that’s why we love our mammo techs. We hope this introduction gives you a better appreciation of the person behind the job.
Originally published 10/29/13 on mammographykc.com.