Digital Mammography

Tuesday, August 01, 2006 at 6:37:29 PM

Beginning in August, all mammograms at the United Health Services Breast Center will be done using new state-of-the-art digital equipment with a computer aided detection system. The equipment instantly produces an image that can be magnified or digitally enhanced for a sharper view. Currently only 8 percent of all the breast centers in the country use digital mammography.

The equipment, called Selenia Full Field Digital Mammography by Hologic, uses compression and x-rays to create a clear image of the inside of the breast. The image is then displayed on a high resolution computer screen where the radiologist can adjust the brightness, contrast and zoom to study specific areas. The image is stored electronically, eliminating the need to print it on film.

Recent controlled studies of digital versus film mammography have shown that digital offers improved cancer detection in women who are younger than 50, in women who are pre- and peri-menopausal, and in women who have dense breast tissue. When combined with the R2 Image Checker computer aided detection system, we can notice and highlight early signs of breast cancer, including microcalcifications. The equipment will also help to minimize the chance of false positive results.

For the patient, there is no noticeable difference in having a digital mammogram compared to a traditional film-based mammogram. However, because the image is created and transmitted to the radiologist so quickly, the patient waiting time will be reduced. We also expect to see fewer women being called back for a repeat scan because the physicians get a clear picture on the first round and there is less chance of under- or over-exposure, like there is in film-based mammography. Women will wait less and get answers quicker, which automatically lessens some of the anxiety associated with mammograms.

The Breast Center at Wilson will have three mammography units, and one will be located at Binghamton GeneralHospital for screening mammographies only to serve our low risk screening patients.

During the conversion process there will be temporary closures which may impact certain procedures. Thank you for your support during this transition. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Susan Kost, RN, Program Manager, Breast Center at 763-6118.

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