What is breast density

In addition to the mammography score, the breast density is rated on a scale from 1 to 4 as the second 'key figure' during your preventive medical check-up. This is the relationship between glandular tissue, connective tissue and fatty tissue in the breast - a relationship that is created and distributed individually for each woman.

The four degrees of density of the breast in mammography

The following picture shows typical examples of the four breast density levels in mammography:

The different degrees of density of the breast from density 1 (far left) to density 4 (far right)

The dense, (in mammography light) areas correspond to mammary gland tissue, while the dark, 'transparent' areas correspond to adipose tissue, since adipose tissue is much more 'transparent' to X-rays than glandular tissue.

The breast density is a mammographic feature and has no disease value! So it makes no difference to your health what density your breast has in the mammography.

Why is breast density important?

The breast density influences the assessability of your mammography. Pathological changes can be superimposed by a dense breast and are difficult to recognize, or under certain circumstances can even be completely masked. This is why the Austrian breast care program routinely performs an ultrasound examination in addition to mammography from a breast density of 3.

Can breast density change?

Breast density can change over time, and it usually decreases with age. But there are also women whose breast density remains constant throughout their lives (see also What is the breast type?). Different mammography devices or imaging techniques can influence the breast density, and not least the subjective impression of the radiologist. Breast surgeries (both cosmetic and therapeutic) also often affect the density of the breast.