Introducing 3D Mammography at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital

The medical imaging suite of Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is one of the most comprehensive in the Upper Peninsula. With state of the art technology and our highly-qualified team of ARRT board-certified technologists, we are committed to bringing you the very best healthcare experience possible.

One of the radiology services that we offer is diagnostic mammograms using the Genius 3D from Hologic. If you are already scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram, you only need to check-in at the main registration desk then check-in at the Medical Imaging reception desk. To view the hospital map, click here.

For you to be fully prepared for your upcoming diagnostic mammogram at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, keep reading.

ACR Radiology badge

The BICOE designation is given to breast imaging centers that demonstrate excellence by seeking and earning accreditation in all of the ACR’s voluntary accreditation programs and modules.


What Is a Diagnostic Mammogram?

This diagnostic procedure involves the use of x-ray imaging to assist a physician in getting a more detailed, yet noninvasive, look at the breast tissue. This special type of x-ray imaging uses specialized technology and techniques to get accurate results while minimizing the radiation dose to the patient. 

Typically, a diagnostic mammogram is ordered when a patient is showing possible signs or symptoms of breast cancer after a physical exam. These could be lumps, breast pain, skin thickening, nipple discharge, or any other abnormal changes. A diagnostic mammogram can also be ordered if a radiologist sees something suspicious on a patient’s screening mammogram such as masses and calcifications. 

Typically, this is not a standalone follow-up test to detect the presence of breast cancer. Other tests such as ultrasound and core-needle biopsy can also be requested depending on the patient’s case.

What’s the Difference Between a Diagnostic Mammogram and a Screening Mammogram?

A mammogram can be used either for breast cancer screening or for diagnostic purposes. Both types of exams play a vital role in the early detection of breast cancer — even during a phase that the cancer cannot be felt by the patient yet. Though the technology used for these two types of exams are similar, they differ in purpose and set of procedures. 

A screening mammogram can be routinely performed to detect breast cancer in women who are not showing signs or symptoms yet. The diagnostic mammogram, however, is used to look further into suspicious findings from the screening mammogram and/or physical exam — meaning the patient is already exhibiting symptoms of what could potentially be breast cancer. 

Since a diagnostic mammogram is used to confirm findings, it is also more thorough than the screening mammogram. The screening mammogram typically involves 2 images of each breast, the cranio-caudal (CC) view and the medio-lateral-oblique (MLO) view. The diagnostic mammogram could include supplemental views such as the medio-lateral (ML) view,  latero-medial (LM) view, exaggerated CC, magnification spot compression, and more depending on the patient’s case.

Why Might You Need a Diagnostic Mammogram?

The diagnostic mammogram is a step towards or ruling out the presence of breast cancer in patients that are already showing signs or symptoms. These signs or symptoms could be detected from a physical exam or from a screening mammogram result.

From a Physical Exam of the Breast

The signs and symptoms could be one or more of the following:

  • Breast lumps or axillary lumps: these are assessed for hardness, asymmetry with the other breast, fixation to skin or muscle, and irregularity of shape.
  • Skin dimpling: this is when the skin looks like the pitting skin of an orange.
  • Skin changes: this could include swelling, thickening, redness, and etc.
  • Nipple abnormalities: this could include recent nipple inversion, bloody discharge, and retraction.

From a Screening Mammogram Result

The findings that would lead to a diagnostic mammogram request could be one or more of the following:

  • Masses: these are areas of dense breast tissue with irregularities that make it stand out from the rest of the breast tissue. These could be cysts, non-cancerous solid tumors, or cancerous tumors.
  • Calcifications: these are small deposits of calcium in the breast tissue. These can be macrocalcifications or microcalcifications. Macrocalcifications are larger and are typically caused by ageing, inflammation, or old injuries. Microcalcifications, however, are more of a suspicious finding and it is up to the radiologist to indicate if they are likely to have formed because of breast cancer.

Kristie's Breast Cancer Story

Kristie's Breast Cancer Story

In March of 2017, my world as I had known it…flipped upside down. I had found a lump on my breast while showering. I saw my local doctor within two days & then 5 days later after having a mammogram @ SMH was told “You have breast cancer”. My 1st thoughts were, “I don’t have a family history, so this can’t be happening to me.” I was terrified, shocked & wondered “Who’s going to fix this?”

Our oldest granddaughter was 6 months old and our 2nd was born 2 days later.. then my thoughts were “I don’t have time for this!”

I had gone 4 years between mammograms, which is embarrassing to admit.

My husband & I decided to go to Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota for treatments and care. 

We have made endless trips to Mayo Clinic in the last 5 years. Remember the statement “I don’t have time for this?” Now we have to make time. If I had made time for annual mammograms, maybe we wouldn’t have had to make time for 8 months of almost weekly visits for multiple scans, 13 chemotherapy treatments, multiple biopsies, 1 bilateral mastectomy & 1 lesion surgery due to chemotherapy. In the last five years we still had to make time for an additional 12 trips to Rochester for checkups and another surgery.

Now I realize “nobody is immune to Breast Cancer” and I try to encourage people to make time for mammograms regularly. Life is short and no-one likes a mammogram but it HAS and CAN save lives. 

I can now say, I have had 5 more birthdays, 2 more grandchildren and have made endless memories with my family & friends who are my backbone for strength to fight breast cancer with determination.

If you can take anything away from my story, I really hope it’s “take the time, life is short”.

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How to Prepare for a Diagnostic Mammogram

Please be mindful of the following points in preparation for your diagnostic mammogram:

Pregnancy and Physical Limitations

Although a mammogram uses low dose x-ray, it is very important to advise your physician or the technologist if you are pregnant or think you may be.

Prior Mammograms & Physician’s Request

Please bring any prior mammograms that have been done at a different facility with you to your appointment. The latter is a must because, as we’ve mentioned above, the supplemental views that need to be done in the diagnostic mammogram may need to be tailored to each individual patient’s case. 

Medication & Food

Take medication as per usual.

Skin Preparation

On the day of the test, avoid using cream, deodorant, antiperspirants, body powder, lotion, and the like, on the skin under your arms or on your chest. These could interfere with the results of your diagnostic mammogram.


Leave out any neck jewelry as these will need to be taken off for the procedure. It would be advisable to wear a two-piece comfortable outfit (e.g. shirt and pants) since you would need to remove clothing articles on your torso.

What to Expect During a Diagnostic Mammogram Exam

As mentioned in the above section, patients need to first remove their top clothing for the diagnostic mammogram procedure. The technologist will then explain the rest of the procedure and ask questions mainly about the patient’s health history. 

Each breast will then be placed, one at a time, between two plates and compressed while the x-rays are taken. The more compression used, the lower dose of radiation to the patient, and the better the image quality. You may be asked to stand for about 15 to 30 minutes during the procedure, and changes in position may be required.

How Long Does It Take to Get Your Results?

The usual turnaround time for mammogram results is less than 1 week. This timeframe could change depending on the urgency that your results are needed, whether there are past mammograms to compare the results with, the complexity of the procedure, and whether more information is needed from your physician to make a more accurate interpretation.

Dr. Niksa (Nick) Vlasic, M.D.

Dr. Niksa Vlasic

Dr. Niksa (Nick) Vlasic, M.D. is board certified in Diagnostic Radiology and Vascular and Interventional Radiology. He received his training at New York Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Vlasic is part of Upper Peninsula Imaging and is on the staff at: Bell Hospital, Marquette General Hospital, Newberry Hospital, Munising Hospital, Baraga County Memorial Hospital, Schoolcraft Hospital, and OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba.

Dr. Vlasic has been treating chronic leg pain and varicose vein disease for over 14 years, and has extensive experience using minimally invasive techniques to provide complete vein evaluations and comprehensive therapy. His procedures are performed in the state-of-the-art Vascular and Interventional Suite at Bell Hospital using the most advanced techniques and equipment.

Dr. Vlasic also provides full Vascular and Interventional Radiology clinic services and consultations with a Pain Management Clinic and a comprehensive Peripheral Vascular Disease Clinic. The Pain Management Clinic includes Epidural Steroid Injections, Intra-articular Steroid Injections, Facet Injections, and Vertebroplasty. The Peripheral Vascular Disease Clinic includes the Vein Clinic, and also provides arterial angiography with percutaneous balloon angioplasty and stent placement.

Dr. Vlasic also offers a wide spectrum of minimally invasive image guided procedures including image guided biopsies, tube placements, and percutaneous catheter placements and drainage procedures.

Find out More Information From Schoolcraft Memorial

Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is a trusted, first choice multi-specialty hospital in the Upper Peninsula with a mission to provide quality health and wellness care. Explore our website to learn more about our services, our physicians, our hospital map, and more. 

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.  

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Everyone in the ambulatory care/outpatient surgery were great!! They all made me feel very comfortable and did a great job!!! thank you to the whole outpatient staff and Doctor Rayner..I would recommend Schoolcraft or patient to anyone in need of surgery

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The care that was provided by The nurses (Cindy, Felicia Ruth) and staff was exceptional. The entire staff was very friendly and made you feel welcome. We received a call from Felicia the next day to check on my husband to check his pain level and do a follow up. The surgery area from check in to check out was well organized, clean, and up to date. Thank you to all of you for what you do so well and everything beyond your normal duties.

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Very detailed, very caring and thorough.
I met with Dr. Randall a couple of days ago and was very impressed. He is very knowledgeable, thorough and was receptive to my inquiries. I would highly recommend him as an orthopedic specialist.
Great dr explains everything really good
Dr. Bambang M.D. and team did an excellent job. The procedure I was dreading turned out to be a pleasant experience. I'd recommend SMH.
Dr Madjar is an excellent doctor. He has taken great care of me. He always answers all my questions.
Super nice doctor and nursing staff. I was in and out in record time with fantastic results!
Always awesome and very informative
I was nervous about my procedure yesterday but everything just fell in place with staff working so smoothly and professionally, very competent and personable. Dr Baumbach is very re-assuring, and his staff follows his lead. Very pleasant. We are very blessed not only to have our great facility, but to have so many kind and skilled people!
Nurses and both Dr Bambach and anesthesiologist were very kind and professional.
Andrew is a very knowledgeable PA and willing to share what he knows on any medical issue. He is well read and referred to different articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine for further research if needed.
Gave me the info and asked me if I had any questions
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I recently saw Dr. Schoenow in the ER. I was very fortunate that he was on staff that evening along with nurses Dawn, Elizabeth, and Cheryl. They all worked very quickly and professionally and got me the immediate attention and relief that I needed. I could not be happier with the care I received and I’m very thankful for the ER and imaging staff at SCMH.Yes, I may also be an employee of Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, but it’s nice to be able to compliment my coworkers for their hard work and also say that while I was in an unfortunate situation, I received outstanding care which made a bad situation a lot easier to deal with.Thanks again Dr. Schoenow and ER Staff. Thanks for working over and filling in Dawn. I’m so glad you were there.
My youngest child was hurt while we were in town for a wedding. We chose to take her to the Clinic to be seen. They were so sweet, kind, and efficient! Everyone from the receptionist (Heidi), nurse (Breann), doctor (Dennis), and X-ray tech (Steve) were great! They made our Sunday morning trip to the clinic a quick and (mostly) painless event. They got us in and out as quickly as they could and the doctor, Dennis, even called to check on her a few days later. This was hands down one of the best experiences I have ever had in a hospital environment.
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Dr Schoenow is an excellent doctor. Hospital very clean and friendly nurses and staff
Excellence should be called out. The care my son received from ER staff Dr. Schoenow, Dr. Dums, Nurses Makenzie, Regina, Ann and more was second to NONE! Dr. Schoenow and the ER nurses did not stop even stayed after his shift to get answers that helped my boy. The follow up treatment he received from Dr. Dums and his NP Ellie after his admission was just as amazing. When loved ones get very ill, at times it is thought that a hospital in a larger city could provide better care. In our case this could not be further from the truth! The Doctors consulted with U of M, Green Bay and Marquette bringing “big city Hospitals” to us, who by the way only confirmed what Dr. Schoenow suspected. I always felt comfortable with the staff and knew my son was safe in their care. They educated my wife and I, treated us like royalty and melted our anxieties. WELL DONE!! This is what professionalism looks like.
Response from the owner: Josh, thank you for your kind words. We have the best employees. We will pass along your words of praise. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us.
Dr. Schoenow is an excellent physician. He is very thorough. He very open to questions and his answers are concise and thoughtful.
He was great, I was sorry to catch them on a day right after a holiday, but the whole team was great!!
Very professional and helpful and the nurses were great
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Superior quality treatment by a compassionate professional. All our questions were answered. My husband was anxious about having his peg tube removed and the doctor and his staff put us immediately at ease.
Dr.Niemela was great. He communicated well, answered all questions and was very personable. He seems intelligent, organized, and an expert in his field. He made me feel confident in his skills.
Excellent bedside manners. Very efficient staff and no delays for my appointment time.
I received excellent care. I was extremely comfortable, I didn’t feel nervous at all. All the nurses and everyone were so good. I highly recommend Dr. Bambach for any procedure!
I went to Dr Randall in April to have significant rotator cuff damage repaired on my left shoulder. I recently had my 6 month follow-up appiontment and I couldn’t be more pleased with my outcome. All the Physical Therapy staff were great as well. Top notch service from Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Rayner took time to hear what was going on with me. I was very pleased and satisfied with the results.
They took very good care of me