Expert breast cancer screening and diagnosis in St. Louis Park

Mammograms help detect breast cancer at the earliest stages, when it’s the most treatable. At the Jane Brattain Breast Center, we’re making it easier for women to prioritize breast health with convenient mammograms, diagnostic exams and biopsies.

Our team of experts is here to make sure you get the high-quality care you need, when you need it. We offer comprehensive breast health services including:

Mammograms

A mammogram is a specialized scan that uses X-rays to look at the tissue inside your breasts. During a mammogram, your breast is compressed and we take images from multiple angles. This helps us examine all of your breast tissue for potential abnormalities.

Dedicated breast technologists perform all mammograms at the Jane Brattain Breast Center. We use advanced digital mammography machines to make sure you get the most accurate results possible. We perform 2D mammograms, the industry standard, but also offer 3D mammograms, also called breast tomosynthesis. 3D mammograms use images to create a three-dimensional image of the breast.

We perform screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms.

When you come in for your mammogram, you’ll be given a robe to wear during your appointment. However, you’ll need to take off your shirt and bra. So we recommend wearing pants or a skirt that can keep your legs covered during your mammogram.

Screening mammograms

Screening mammograms are used to regularly check your breast tissue for any signs of breast cancer or other concerns. At the Jane Brattain Breast Center, we recommend regular screening mammograms starting at age 40, but women at a high risk of developing breast cancer might start earlier. If you have any questions about when you should start getting regular mammograms, talk to your doctor.

Diagnostic mammograms

If we find an abnormality on a screening mammogram, or if you have a breast lump or breast discharge, we’ll likely recommend a diagnostic mammogram. We take more photos during this type of mammogram so we can take a closer look at the area of concern.

Diagnostic exams Breast ultrasound

An ultrasound uses soundwaves to create an image of the inside of your breast. During a breast ultrasound, we’ll run a small device that produces soundwaves over your breasts. As the soundwaves bounce off your tissue, it creates an image that we use to check for anything unusual. Our team, including dedicated breast ultrasound technicians, specializes in performing and reading breast ultrasounds to ensure you get the most accurate results possible.

Breast specific gamma imaging (BSGI)

A BSGI is a specialized imaging test used to check for cancer tissue. During a BSGI, we’ll start an intravenous (IV) drip and inject a small amount of a radiotracer solution into the IV. Then we’ll take pictures of your breast with a specially designed camera. If cancer cells are present, the radiotracer will collect in them and make them more visible in the images. This test takes about one hour.

Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

A breast MRI is a test that uses a magnetic field to take a picture of the inside of the breast. During this test, you’ll lie on your stomach and let your breasts hang down into the breast coil. The table you’ll lie on is similar to a massage table, with a headrest and cutouts for your breasts. If the breast MRI is used to check for breast cancer, we’ll start you on an intravenous (IV) injection of contrast solution. Images will be taken with and without the contrast solution. The test takes about 20 minutes.

Breast MRIs are performed at Methodist Hospital and the Park Nicollet Maple Grove Specialty Center. After the test is performed, the results will be read by one of our dedicated breast radiologists at the Jane Brattain Breast Center.

Biopsies

A breast biopsy is a procedure where a small amount of breast tissue is removed so it can be examined in a lab. Biopsies are performed if we notice something out of the ordinary on a diagnostic mammogram. No matter what type of biopsy is needed, we’ll make you as comfortable as possible with local anesthesia.

Imaging technology is often needed to help us locate the area of concern and collect a tissue sample. At the end of all image guided biopsies, we leave a small marking clip at the biopsy site so it can easily be found again, if needed. We perform many different image guided biopsies, including:

  • Stereotactic biopsies – During this type of biopsy, an X-ray is used to pinpoint the area of concern. Then one of our breast radiologists makes a small incision and uses a needle to remove a tissue sample. This type of biopsy can be performed while sitting up or while lying on your stomach on a special table with cutouts for your breasts. We’ll help you decide which will work better for you.
  • Ultrasound guided biopsies – This type of biopsy uses an ultrasound to guide us to the area of concern. During this biopsy, the radiologist will pinpoint the area with an ultrasound, make a small incision and use a needle to remove a tissue sample.
  • MRI guided biopsies – If the area of concern can only be seen on an MRI, we’ll recommend an MRI guided biopsy. During an MRI guided biopsy, you’ll lie on your stomach on a special table with cutouts for your breasts. We’ll also inject a small amount of a contrast solution through an IV that will help areas of concern appear on an MRI. Then a radiologist will make a small incision and remove a tissue sample using a needle. Our radiologists perform this procedure at Methodist Hospital.

"I am so grateful to the Park Nicollet staff who carefully and gently guided me through the entire process."

– Laurie, patient 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Knowing how to prepare for a mammogram can help you feel more comfortable during the procedure. Follow these guidelines before your appointment for a smoother experience.

  • Schedule your mammogram when your breasts will be less tender – the week after your period is usually the best time.
  • Don’t use deodorant before your mammogram.
  • Bring or send over your previous mammogram images, if you have them.
  • Take Advil or Tylenol before the procedure if you find mammograms uncomfortable.

We’ll answer any questions you have before your appointment and give you more detailed information about how to prepare.

If results show no cause for concern, we’ll send you a letter with your results. We’ll mail the letter as quickly as possible, but in some cases you’ll receive the letter in the mail five to seven days after your mammogram. If your result requires a callback, we will call you one to two days after your mammogram to schedule diagnostic testing. If you have an online account with us, your results will be available in your account as soon as possible.

In most cases, you’ll receive the results of your diagnostic exam at the time of your appointment.

Yes. When you’re making the appointment, just give us the name of the doctor or clinic and we’ll make sure they receive your results. If you request the results be sent to a doctor outside of HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we’ll mail both of you the results at the same time. Your doctor will receive the letter as quickly as possible, but it may take between five and seven days to receive the results.

Breasts are made up of a mix of fatty, fibrous and glandular tissue. If you have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue, your breasts are considered dense. Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram. About half of all women have dense breasts. Starting August 1, 2014, Minnesota law requires clinicians to tell women if they have dense breast tissue on their screening mammogram.

Read our patient handout to learn more about breast density and breast cancer risks (PDF).

Having dense breasts is one of the risk factors for developing breast cancer. Also, dense breasts can make it more difficult for radiologists to find certain types of breast cancer on a mammogram. The Jane Brattain Breast Center uses digital mammography to improve our ability to find breast cancer in dense breasts.

You should discuss your overall breast cancer risk with your doctor. Together, we’ll decide if any additional screening exams are right for you. At this time, experts do not agree if women with dense breasts should have other tests besides screening mammograms. We do offer additional testing for women at increased risk, but these extra tests may lead to further unnecessary testing and biopsies. Also, the extra screening tests might not be covered by insurance. Studies support screening with mammograms and breast MRI in women known to have a very high risk of breast cancer, regardless of their breast density.

Read our patient handout to learn more about breast cancer risks (PDF).

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.

Not sure what your insurance covers? Call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.

Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are the member services numbers to common insurance providers: