Posted by: bcconnections | November 29, 2012

Breast Tomosynthesis Offers Advantages Over Traditional Mammography

Breast tomosynthesis, or three-dimensional (3D) mammography, is a new type of mammogram technology pioneered by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Unlike conventional 2-dimensional mammography, in which a single flattened image of the breast is produced, breast tomosynthesis allows multiple images of the breast to be taken from various angles.  The images are then digitally reconstructed to create a 3-D picture of the whole breast, which can be viewed slice by slice.  By taking serial images, tomosynthesis eliminates the problem of overlapping tissues, which can often muddle a proper diagnosis.

A study published recently in the journal Radiology highlights the benefits of this new technology.  This study of 1,192 women compared the accuracy of a diagnosis made by standard digital mammography alone to a diagnosis made by digital mammography in combination with tomosynthesis.  Use of the combined approach significantly increased the diagnostic accuracy and significantly decreased the false-positive recall rate.  The reduced recall rate is expected to translate into a substantial decrease in the number of unnecessary diagnostic tests, such as biopsies.

Currently, tomosynthesis is performed in combination with standard mammography.  This increases the amount of radiation a woman is exposed to during screening, but the dose remains under the limits recommended by the FDA.  A newly approved modification of the tomosynthesis equipment will allow a standard mammographic image to be generated from the tomosysnthesis data, thereby reducing the radiation exposure.

To find a center near you that offers tomosynthesis, visit:


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