3-D Mammography is Here

PrintEach year there are approximately 40 million mammograms performed in the United States,1 the majority with 2D digital mammography. Approximately 4 million are called back for additional examinations, more than 1 million minimally invasive biopsies are performed, about 300,000 cancers are detected,2 and 40,000 women die of breast cancer.

Catawba Valley Imaging Center (CVIC), a service of CVMC has added digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) mammography, an imaging technique that creates a three-dimensional (3-D) like image of breast tissue, to help screen patients for breast cancer. While standard mammogram machines take a static picture from above the breast, the tomosynthesis tube moves over the breast in an arc.

“A 3-D mammogram has 20 projection images each taken at slightly different angles along that arc. The information is fed into a computer which reconstructs composite images into extremely thin slices,” said Kim Frankel, Director of CVIC. “Just as in computerized tomography (CT), the ability to evaluate breast tissue without overlapping structures offers greater image clarity. So it’s fundamentally like a mammogram with an enhanced ability to reconstruct the image into multiple thin slices, providing a clearer image of the breast tissue.”

The introduction of tomosynthesis technology is one of many significant investments by CVMC to more accurately diagnose patients with breast cancer. Women who are identified as having dense breasts can particularly benefit from DBT screening as research shows they have a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer.

“We are very excited to offer this innovative imaging service to women within the collaborative setting of the Catawba Valley Imaging Center,” said Ed Pearce, MD, CVIC Director of Mammography. “Providing the most advanced care for women, including those notified of increased breast density, is our top priority. With DBT mammography, we can get the same or slightly better degree of sensitivity as with digital screening mammography, but it is much more specific. This will decrease the number of callbacks for screening mammography, but at the same time increase our cancer detection rate.”

For more information about breast screenings, please contact Catawba Valley Imaging Center at 828-485-2774 located at 1501 Tate Blvd. SE, Suite 101
Hickory, NC 28602.

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