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Dr Lim Swee Ho​, Senior Consultant, KK Breast Centre, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group shares more about mammogram procedures and preparation tips.

What happens during a mammogram?​​

At the mammogram facility, you will be asked to remove any clothing from the waist up and given a gown to wear. You will also have to remove any jewellery around your neck and upper body.

At the start of the mammogram, a female radiographer will ask you whether you have any breast problems, if you have had breast surgery or if you are taking hormones. She will also examine your breasts for lumps.

You will then be asked to stand in front of the mamm​ography machine where the radiographer will position your breast onto a​n imaging support table. A plastic plate will be lowered onto your breast, to hold and compress your breast. You will be asked to hold your breath and stand still while the images are being taken.

Firm compression of your breasts will help produce a high quality mammogram, as well as reduce the radiation dose to your breasts.

“During compression, you may experience tightness and discomfort but this will last only for a few seconds,” says Dr Lim.


Here are some tips to prepare for a mammogram:

  • Avoid having a mammogram during your menstrual period and one week before your period, when your breasts may be tender.
  • Do not use any powder, perfume or deodorant on your breasts or armpits on the day of examination. Metallic particles in these products may show up on the mammogram and confuse the results.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit, e.g. skirt and top, since you will have to remove any clothing from the waist up.
  • Bring along any previous mammogram films so that the radiologist can compare the current images with previous ones.
  • You can have an aspirin an h​​our before the mammogram to reduce the discomfort.
  • There is no restriction on food o​​r fluid intake and you can continue taking your usual medications.

​​Ref: R14​​