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Breast Calcification

Calcification is a common process where small spots of calcium spots deposit themselves in breast tissue. These deposits can be the result of aging or other breast conditions such as fibroadenoma or cysts. Inflammation or foreign bodies such as implants or stitches can also lead to calcification.


Injury or breast surgery can lead to microcalcification. Surgery such as silicone implants or removal of tissues are other probable causes. If you have undergone radiation treatment in the chest area, you are at higher risk for developing breast calcifications. Calcium deposits within the milk ducts or within the breast arteries are other causes for developing breast calcifications. Any breast infection such as mastitis or dermatitis is yet another cause for calcification within the breast. Breast calcifications are not caused due to dietary calcium.


The best diagnostic tool to detect breast calcification is a high quality mammography done by a radiologist who is skilled in the proper positioning and compression of the breast. Such mammograms are best viewed on high-luminance viewers where extraneous glare and light is eliminated. The morphology is an important determinant in detecting malignancy of breast calcifications. A biopsy can confirm the readings. When instances of calcification are detected, mammograms are routinely taken to determine the stability of the calcifications. Suspicious mammogram must be followed by core needle biopsy, as it is minimally traumatic and relatively less expensive than surgical biopsy.

Diagnostic Mammogram

Diagnostic mammograms are prescribed in cases where there are suspicious changes such as lump or pain in the breast or nipple discharge. If there have been any abnormal findings on a screening mammogram, a diagnostic mammogram is required. Though technically a diagnostic mammogram is similar to a screening mammogram, a diagnostic mammogram focuses on the particular symptoms or problems such as breast lumps or mass. A diagnostic mammogram provides additional views and makes use of special techniques to magnify the abnormal area of the breast.


Screening Mammogram

Mammography involves use of solid-state detectors that aid in detecting early breast cancer in women. These detectors work much like those that are found in digital cameras. The images produced can be stored on a computer. It is essential that women going in for a mammogram do not wear lotions or deodorants on their breasts or underarms. The breast is placed on a special platform and compressed with a paddle so that the tissue is spread out. This aids in examining every bit of breast tissue sans overlapping. There might be slight discomfort when the breast is pressed by the mammogram compression device. Screening mammograms aids in detecting small abnormal tissue growths. A screening mammogram helps in identifying cysts, calcifications and tumors within the breast. Interpretation of the mammogram results can be difficult as there can be inaccurate readings due to breast implants, powder or salve on the breasts. If there are any regions that need special mammogram views, an x-ray marker is taped on the area. In some cases, a diagnostic mammogram is prescribed.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 13, 2019