From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!
I have been asked, “Is the “new” breast mammogram another better than regular mammogram?” Well, let me tell you a little about what it is…and then you can become your own advocate and make the decision best for you.
Breast tomosynthesis (also known as 3-D mammography) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for routine clinical use in addition to standard/conventional mammography (Tomosynthesis should not be used alone). Tomosynthesis is a modification of digital mammography that uses a moving x-ray source that can reconstruct thin slices of images and allow the Radiologist to detect and distinguish abnormalities better.
In the screening setting, tomosynthesis may help to decrease recall rates by being able to show true lesions better. This was proven in several studies.
In the diagnostic setting, tomosynthesis improves lesion characterization that may result in fewer false positive biopsies and increase the rate of cancer detection.
When used in screening mode, the patient is exposed to approximately twice the usual radiation dose, which is sometimes is greater if the patient has dense or thick breasts. However, newer tomosynthesis creates a synthetic 2-D image from the 3-D images, and thereby lowers the radiation dose to slightly above that of a conventional mammogram. See video below for further explanation on how tomosynthesis works.
Is this a trade off? My opinion…no. Improved detection and lower recall rates with slight increase in radiation dose vs “normal” radiation exposure from conventional mammogram with higher recall rates…and all the anxiety and psychological effects to boot? However, the decision is yours.
Watch videos below to learn the basics of breast self exam and tomosynthesis (Digital 3-D mammography)
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See you next week…