Mammography is an imaging test that uses X-rays and computer technology to produce detailed pictures of your breast tissue. 

  • Mammography, or mammogram is a special x-ray examination of the breast.
  • A mammogram only takes a few minutes and the entire visit takes about half an hour.
  • You need a specialist referral for a mammogram.

What is a mammogram?

Mammography is one of several ways to take images of the breast tissue. It is used to look for abnormalities in the breast, including breast cancer.

Your comfort, privacy and safety will be maintained at all times.


Please inform Radiology staff if you are pregnant or you might be pregnant. Please do not use deodorant, powder, talc or oils before your mammogram.

What happens during the procedure?

A mammogram only takes a few minutes and the entire visit takes about half an hour.

A radiographer greets you and explains what happens during the procedure. An injection of contrast dye may be given to help better assess your breast tissue.

The radiographer positions each of your breasts in turn, between two flat plates on the mammogram machine, which spread the breast tissue out so that clear pictures can be taken.

The machine takes x-ray images for the radiologist to assess later. 

Does it hurt?

Each breast is held quite firmly while the mammogram is taken, so you may feel a level of discomfort but it only takes a few seconds. A few women find a mammogram painful, so tell the radiographer if this occurs and they can make adjustments. Your comfort is important to us.

Contrast Enhanced Mammography

Some types of mammograms may require you to have an injection of contrast (dye) into a vein.

Please tell your referring doctor and radiology staff if you have had any serious allergies to medications or known allergy to contrast dye.

After the injection of contrast dye you may experience a warm flushing sensation, metallic taste in your mouth or a sensation of wetting yourself – these are common and will disappear shortly after the injection finishes.

Please alert radiology staff if you have symptoms of feeling unwell during or after the mammogram examination.

If you have diabetes or kidney disease you may be required to have a blood test before the scan to check your kidney function. 

What happens after the procedure?

Your results are discussed with you by your specialist at your next visit.

You can organise regular breast screening through BreastScreen.

Are you pregnant?

Please inform us if there is a possibility you could be pregnant or breastfeeding.

Mammogram information brochure

Last updated 07 August 2023