Digital mammography (sometimes referred to as full-field digital/diagnostic mammography) is one of the most recent advances in X-RAY mammography. It is redefining the way women’s healthcare is delivered and provides a new option in breast health. Similar to standard mammography, X-RAYs are used to produce an image of the breast. The key role of digital mammography is to identify breast cancer in its early stages when it is very small. This is often a year or two before it is large enough to be felt by your healthcare provider. Mammography detects about 2-3 times as many early breast cancers as a physical examination.
The differences between standard and digital mammography are the way the images are recorded, viewed by the radiologist, and stored. Standard mammogram images are recorded on X-RAY film. Digital mammography images are captured electronically and viewable on a computer screen within 8-10 seconds. They are stored on the computer and therefore their magnification, brightness, darkness or contrast can be “enhanced” after the mammogram is complete to help the doctor more clearly see certain areas. Since the Mammogram images can be adjusted by the radiologist, subtle differences between tissues may be noted.
Early in 2000, the FDA approved the “full-field” digital mammogram system that can now be used for routine breast cancer screening. Digital mammography will eventually replace traditional mammography. Some of the advantages of digital mammography include:
- Improved differentiation between dense and non-dense breast tissue
- Improved detector cellular design, reducing radiation exposure
- Shorter exam time, reducing anxiety as pictures are generated immediately
- Easier image storage
- Physician manipulation of breast images for more accurate detection of breast cancer
- Ability to correct under or over exposed films without having to repeat the mammogram
- Ease of transmission of images from one physician to another
Computer Aided Detection
To complement our digital mammography services, Community Health Imaging Centers has implemented Computer Aided Detection (CAD) capability to further assist in the detection of cancer in its earlier stages. CAD uses advanced pattern recognition software technology to examine the acquired image and provide information to the interpreting radiologist regarding any particular areas of concern. The professional expertise of our fellowship trained radiologists, along with the implementation of CAD, allows Community Health Imaging Centers to utilize the best tools available to detect breast cancer.
2D vs 3D
3D Breast tomosynthesis allows radiologists to evaluate breast tissue one layer at a time. This exciting new technology has recently been FDA approved. 3D Breast tomosynthesis converts digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers or “slices” building what is essentially a three-dimensional mammogram. During the tomosynthesis part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple breast images in just seconds. A computer then produces a 3D image of your breast tissue in one millimeter layers. Radiologists can now see breast tissue in a more detailed way. Instead of viewing your breast tissue in a flat image, the tissue can be examined a millimeter at a time and fine details are more clearly visible.
By looking at the breast tissue in one millimeter slices, the radiologist can provide a more confident assessment. In this way, 3D mammography finds cancers missed with conventional 2D mammography. It also means there is less chance your doctor will call you back later for a “second look,” this 3D technology allows breast tissue to be seen more clearly. 3D mammography significantly improves cancer detection by 40% and also reduces call back rates 20-40%. Early detection is key in fighting breast cancer; with 3D Mammography we have the ability to detect next year’s cancer today.
1. Do not wear any powders, perfumes, lotions, or deodorant for your exam.
2. Wear a two-piece outfit.
3. Arrive at the specified time to allow for registration and exam preparation.
4. Please notify our scheduling department of any special needs or allergies.
5. Bring your insurance card and authorization or worker’s comp information
6. Plan to pay any required co-pays at the time of your service.
7. Bring a picture ID.
8. Bring your Mammography referral.
To insure the highest quality procedure in a safe environment, we are unable to provide child care services during your examination. Please do not bring unattended children to the imaging center.