You are here:

Radiology/Mammogram done incorrectly


About a month ago I had a diagnostic 3D mammogram done.  The technician seemed unsure of herself.  She set me up between the plates, told me to hold my breath clicked the switch and immediately the plates retracted so I was no longer being squeezed.  She told me to hold my breath again and clicked the switch again- but for this picture I was just standing there between two plates about 6-12" apart, nothing was squeezing me.  I told her this but she said it was okay and did the exact same thing again after readjusting the plates for a new angle of the same breast. for the first picture I was squeezed but for the second picture the plates were apart.  

After a long time in the waiting room I was told to come back and have another mammogram, this time using the 2D machine because she had made a mistake with the settings the first time.  She apologized and said she was training at this facility and only took one picture to reduce my radiation exposure.  I did end up staying for an ultrasound and a benign cyst was the problem.     

The odd thing is that I have been having trouble swallowing ever since the day of that mammogram.  I'm now wondering if I could have been exposed to radiation that hurt my esophagus.  

How might I have been effected by the mistake that was made?  She basically took two pictures without the plates being squeezed and told me that she had messed up the settings.

Hello, Jul.

You would not have been exposed to enough radiation during this mammogram to have affected your esophagus. Mammograms require a very low dose of radiation to make the picture. A few repeat exposures would not add significantly to your radiation exposure.

The chart on this page says that the radiation you're exposed to during a mammogram is approximately the same amount you would receive after 7 weeks of normal background radiation.

Hope this helps,


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Delia White


I am not qualified to interpret diagnostic imaging or to diagnose disease. Please consult a physician for that information. I am the photographer. I can tell you what to expect during most MRI, CT and X-ray procedures.


I now have more than 30 years experience in diagnostic imaging. My specialty is MRI. I am also very familiar with CT and the way we used to take x-rays (everything's digital now)!

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Radiologic Technology.

©2016 All rights reserved.