Impact of patient-controlled compression on the mammography experience

Radiology. 1993 Jan;186(1):99-102. doi: 10.1148/radiology.186.1.8416595.


The authors tested the hypothesis that giving women control over the compression portion of the mammography examination results in a less painful experience, greater overall patient satisfaction, and a radiographic image as good as that produced by means of technologist-controlled compression. One hundred nine women undergoing screening mammography at a hospital-based outpatient clinic were studied. Each underwent two-view, screen-film mammography performed in routine fashion except that, by random assignment, one breast was compressed by the technologist and the other breast, by the patient. Patient-controlled compression was significantly (P = .003) less painful than technologist-controlled compression. Overall patient satisfaction (96% [105 of 109]) and willingness to repeat the experience were extremely high. The majority of images (93.5% [202 of 216]) were rated as having good to excellent compression. With minimal patient education, self-compression resulted in an image at least as good as that produced with technologist-applied compression. Further study of this technique is warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography* / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology