On the Net
• For more information about 3D mammograms, visit www.northside.com.
• Mammograms are recommended yearly for women 40 and over. To schedule a mammogram at Northside Hospital-Forsyth, call (404) 851-6577.
Women now have access to more accurate and efficient mammograms at Northside Hospital-Forsyth.
Last month, the hospital’s Breast Care Center added a new three-dimensional mammogram machine, known as digital breast tomosynthesis.
“It was installed on Feb. 15 and we completed our first procedure with it about two weeks ago,” said Lisa Gilman-Lowery, Northside Forsyth’s radiology manager. “We’ve seen about 50 woman use it.”
Mary Meisemann, the Breast Care Center’s supervisor of radiology, explained that the new machine uses a rotating camera that is able to capture a much more in-depth image of the breast.
“With the regular two-dimensional mammograms, we just get an overhead shot looking down on the compressed breast tissue,” she said. “With the three-dimensional machine, the camera rotates around and takes between 40 and 60 different images. It’s like cutting the image of the breast into tiny slices.”
Those “slices” can then be looked at individually, or reconstructed by a computer to provide a 3-D model of the breast.
From a patient standpoint, Meisemann said, the 3-D mammograms aren’t any different from traditional ones.
“From the patient’s prospective, nothing feels any different or looks any different,” she said. “It’s just the technology that helps us when looking at the images.”
Mammogram technician Cynde Dalton said patients seem to appreciate the technology, however, since it can save them time.
“The patients love it,” she said. “It’s easier for them and faster for them.”
She explained that the new technology can often reduce the number of procedures they may have to endure.
She said problems found with the traditional device would often have to be further evaluated using a follow-up mammogram or an ultrasound. With the 3D mammograms, however, that can often be avoided.
Meisemann noted that radiologists are also able to read the results of the 3D mammogram faster and with more accuracy.
“With this, [patients] don’t have to wait as long to get their results,” she said.
Radiologist Kim Gray said the new equipment has paid off.
“We have had some examples already of items that would have been missed on a 2-D mammogram,” she said. “That’s no fault of the reader, just limitations of the technology.”
Gilman-Lowery said women can opt to have the 3-D mammogram, which does cost “slightly more” than traditional 2-D mammograms.
“But we’re finding that the majority of insurance carriers are covering it,” she said.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime during her lifetime.
Early detection has been found to be the best protection, Gilman-Lowery said.
“We want to provide our patients with the earliest and most accurate detection, so this is very exciting for us,” she said.