Treatment Programs


Breast Imaging

The Breast Imaging Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging provides state-of-the-art exams including breast tomosynthesis, the expertise of specialized breast radiologists, and a network of convenient metro Boston locations.

The Breast Imaging program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging provides comprehensive screening and diagnostic exams using the latest technology, coupled with the expertise of one of the country's largest teams of specialized breast radiologists.

Working through the Comprehensive Breast Center located at Mass General in Boston, as well as at several community locations, the Breast Imaging team focuses exclusively on the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer using state-of-the-art mammography including breast tomosynthesis, ultrasound, and MRI technology.

The Breast Imaging Program provides:

  • A full suite of exams including screening and diagnostic mammography, breast MRI, and ultrasound.
  • Leading-edge technology, including the latest mammography equipment, ultrasound machines, and MRI scanners.
  • Tight coordination with experts across Mass General. Our breast radiology team works as part of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, which brings together experts from many disciplines to provide comprehensive cancer care. Every mammogram that requires followup is reviewed by a multidisciplinary team of experts who together plan a course of action.

Specialist radiologists, dedicated to your care

Every scan is read by a specialty-trained radiologist: an expert who has extensive training and real-world experience in both the imaging technology being used and the area of body in focus.

The Breast Imaging Program includes a team of 12 dedicated breast radiologists from the Breast Imaging division of the Mass General Department of Radiology, experts in detecting breast lesions through the use of digital mammography, ultrasound and MRI. Working from the Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center on the Mass General Main campus, this group is one of the nation's largest breast-imaging teams.

Coordinated care

We work in close consultation with your doctor to schedule and plan your exam. Then we provide swift results, including a written report and image access (if your doctor desires), within 48 to 72 hours.

In the event that an exam reveals information that requires a closer look, we not only coordinate additional studies but also can help bring together a multidisciplinary team from across Mass General.

Emphasis on safety

Our commitment to safety extends through everything we do, from exam-room procedures to leading-edge research. We pay special attention to minimizing radiation exposure—without giving up image quality. We employ physicists and engineers to calibrate and maintain our equipment at the highest level, and we invest to replace outmoded equipment and bring the latest technology to our patients.

All Mass General facilities for mammography are licensed and accredited by the American College of Radiology, the FDA and the Radiation Control Program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Beyond Breast Imaging

In addition to comprehensive breast imaging, Mass General Imaging also offers exams and treatments for other aspects of women's health:


The Breast Imaging Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers diagnostic exams for the following conditions.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a condition in which certain cells in the breast become abnormal and multiply without control to form a tumor.

Breast Infections and Inflammations

The most common type of breast infection is lactational mastitis, which causes a woman’s nipples to become cracked and sore when she is breastfeeding. Nonlactational mastitis is similar to lactational mastitis but occurs in nonlactating women.

Fibrocystic Breast Changes

Generalized breast lumpiness is known by names such as "fibrocystic disease" and "fibroid breasts." Doctors now believe these are just part of the normal breast changes many women undergo throughout the various stages of their lives.

Flat or Inverted Nipples

An effective breastfeeding baby usually has little trouble breastfeeding even if his/her mother's nipples appear to be flatter. A less effective breastfeeder may need some time to figure out how he/she can draw the nipple into the mouth with latch-on.

Mastalgia (Breast Pain)

Mastalgia is breast pain and is generally classified as either cyclical (associated with menstrual periods) or noncyclic.


Mastitis is often used interchangeably with the term breast infection, but mastitis may also be due to an inflammation. Often a reddened area is noted on the breast.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

FDA approves first 3-D mammography imaging system

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first X-ray mammography device that provides three-dimensional (3-D) images of the breast for breast cancer screening and diagnosis.

Edwards' death highlights need for early breast cancer screening

Edwards reportedly failed to get annual screenings herself, which may have been the reason for the late stage diagnosis of her disease. Article quotes Mass General radiologist Dr. Daniel Kopans.

3D mammogram on brink of FDA approval

A new three-dimensional mammogram device purported by the device maker Hologic to more precisely detect breast lesions and reduce the number of follow-up breast cancer screenings, when used in conjunction with conventional digital mammograms, cleared an FDA hurdle Monday.

A personal perspective on the mammography debate

This first-personal article, which quotes Mass General Imaging radiologist Dr. Daniel Kopans, discusses one woman's experience being called back for additional imaging after a mammogram.

Norwegian study renews mammogram debate

Critics including Mass General breast-imaging radiologist Dr. Daniel B. Kopans believe the study's conclusion is flawed and will only serve to further confuse women and their physicians.

Screening with mammography and breast MRI effective for women with high cancer risk

The combination of MR imaging and mammography can provide a cost-effective way of improving life expectancy for women who have an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a study authored by Mass General Imaging radiologist Janie M Lee.

Experts question motives of mammogram guidelines

Critics of the guidelines, issued on Monday by the US Services Task Force, an independent panel sponsored by the US Agency for Healthcare Quality, say the new guidelines are a step backward and will lead to more cancer deaths.

3D mammogram newest weapon against breast cancer

Important breast cancer detection method, mammograms, gets a 3D upgrade; Doctors get to "look through" tissue.

Mammograms and thyroid cancer: The facts about breast-cancer screening

Alarmist claims about a connection between thyroid cancer rates and mammography are not only without merit but also potentially harmful if they deter women from their annual screening.

Poll: Women in their 40s want mammograms

About 57 percent of women believe mammograms should start at age 40, according to a Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.

Mass General researcher gets grant to study optical breast imaging

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center has awarded Qianqian Fang, PhD, and Philips Healthcare a $500,000 grant aimed at equipping traditional mammography systems with a low-cost optical imaging system with the potential to dramatically improve breast cancer detection.

OB/GYN group urges more frequent mammograms

Gynecologists should urge women to have annual mammograms starting at age 40, a national doctors group said Wednesday.

Are 3D mammograms a breast cancer breakthrough?

In what doctors hope is a big step forward, new 3-D mammograms promise better detection and fewer false alarms for hundreds of thousands of American women.

Radio ads debut for Mass General Imaging - Worcester

Radio ads inform central Massachusetts residents about the services and expertise available at Mass General Imaging's Worcester location, including 3D mammography.

Thrall: Healthcare IT can help rads tackle radiation exposure

It's imperative that radiologists proactively find ways to keep radiation dose to a minimum, and healthcare IT can help, according to Dr. James H. Thrall, who spoke on the topic this week at the New York Medical Imaging Informatics Symposium.

Mass General Imaging expands 3D mammography service to Waltham

Mass General West Imaging - Waltham introduces new technology that improves cancer detection while reducing callbacks.

Mass General research addresses early breast screening for gene-mutation carriers

Starting breast cancer screening as early as age 25 may help women who carry a genetic mutation linked to a higher risk of cancer live longer, according to a U.S. study.

Digital 3-D mammograms show promise

Device companies race to improve breast cancer screening, but the effectiveness of new methods is still being studied.

New study supports mammograms before age 50 to reduce breast cancer death

In a study published in the journal Cancer, Mass General researchers, with colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, found that the majority of women who die from breast cancer do not have regular mammograms.

Breast Tomosynthesis

Pioneered at Mass General Imaging, breast tomosynthesis provides a clear view through overlapping layers of breast tissue in order to improve breast-cancer detection while reducing callbacks.

Images of Imaging: MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Learn about MRI exams at Mass General Imaging. See what MRI scanners and images look like, understand MRI safety, and learn about the specialty-trained radiologists who interpret every scan.

Webster Center takes on radiation-dose reduction

Dr. James H. Thrall, Department of Radiology chairman emeritus, discusses The Webster Center for Advanced Research and Education in Radiation, a unique research effort dedicated to reducing radiation dose for every exam Mass General Imaging performs.

Radiation reduction: Our ongoing commitment

As CT (computed tomography) technology has transformed the practice of medicine, Mass General Imaging has dedicated itself to making sure each exam exposes the patient to the lowest achievable amount of radiation. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, discusses our decade-long commitment—and our success—regarding this issue.

Decision tools support radiation-reduction efforts

One effective way to reduce radiation exposure is to avoid unnecessary exams. That's why Mass General Imaging has been a leader in developing software tools that guide referring physicians by not only making sure the selected exam matches the patient's needs but also suggesting radiation-free alternatives when appropriate.

Imaging specialists, focused on you

Each radiologist at Mass General Imaging is a specialist in a particular area of the body. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how patients benefit from the additional specialty training our physicians have completed.


Mammograms at Mass General

Learn more about mammograms at Mass General and how to schedule an appointment at one of our locations.


Breast tomosynthesis

Read about breast tomosynthesis, a breakthrough in mammography pioneered at Mass General.


Imaging experts, focused on you

Every scan at Mass General Imaging is read by a radiologist with specialty training in the area of the body being studied.