Once your breast is in the proper position, the technologist will use a compression device, such as a smooth plastic paddle, to help keep the breast in this position. You will feel pressure on your breast from this device. Although sometimes uncomfortable, the compression is essential to obtain a good exam. The compression keeps the breast still, spreads the tissue for better visualization and helps to reduce overall x-ray exposure. The best thing that you can do during the procedure is to relax your upper body and shoulders. If you are tense, the pectoral muscle pulls the breast tissue back. When the muscle is relaxed, it enables the technologist to get more breast tissue on the film for evaluation.
Two or three x-rays will be taken of each breast. As each x-ray is taken, you will be asked to remain still and hold your breath.
You will wait while the technologist develops the x-ray images to make sure they contain all of the necessary information. Occasionally, more images may be needed.
Once the examination is completed, you are free to go unless other exams have been scheduled for you.