Monday, October 11, 2010
New Digital Mammography System
Alexian Brothers New Digital Mammography System Offers Multiple Benefits
Alexian Brothers Hospital Network (ABHN) this fall is completing the rollout of the Selenia® Dimensions® 2D full-field digital mammography system, the latest available diagnostic technology for increasing the early detection of breast cancer.
The system from Hologic, Inc. produces high-quality breast images and offers a variety of other benefits for patients and radiologists, including faster results and improved work flow.
|The Selenia Dimensions 2D full-field digital
mammography system benefits patients
by reducing exam times and providing
The system also can be configured for three-dimensional digital breast imaging when and if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the 3D technology, known as digital tomosynthesis. In September, an FDA panel voted unanimously to recommend the 3D technology, endorsing its safety and effectiveness and ruling that its benefits outweigh its risks. When used in combination with the Selenia Dimensions 2D full-field digital mammography system, digital tomosynthesis has the potential to reduce patient recall rates and improve cancer detection, Hologic says. The technology now is under final review by the FDA.
“We are one of the few health systems to install the 2D Selenia Dimensions system at all of their breast care centers, and we are poised to move to 3D once the FDA completes its final review,” says Patti Jamieson-Baker, ABHN Vice President.
St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and Alexian Brothers Medical Center (ABMC) in Elk Grove Village, Ill., each features three Selenia Dimensions 2D systems. ABHN also has installed the Selenia Dimensions 2D system at the St. Alexius Breast Care Center in Bartlett, Ill., and expects to complete the installation of the system at the network’s immediate care center in Addison, Ill., and the Alexian Medical Mall in Schaumburg, Ill., by Nov. 1, 2010.
The new system offers multiple benefits for women, according to Priscilla Niles, Facilitator of the Women’s Breast Care Center at ABMC, and Jackie Lamb, Supervisor of St. Alexius Medical Center’s breast-care centers.
Like conventional mammography, the digital system uses X-rays to capture top-to-bottom and side-to-side images of each breast, but new technology allows the system to use a lower dose of radiation. Technological advances also make the computerized system faster and easier to use, which benefits patients by reducing exam times, providing faster results, and creating more appointment times.
For women undergoing diagnostic mammograms, which involve additional X-rays of areas of concern revealed by a screening mammogram, the new digital mammography system provides immediate results. It also enables staff members to provide more personalized care that can reduce a patient’s stress and anxiety.
“It has allowed us to have our special staff stay with the patient from the beginning to the end of her appointment, without lengthening her appointment time,” Niles says. “Our approach to comprehensive breast care has been heightened, because the technology is faster. Now, we can look at the pictures, and we can sit down and go over the results with the patient and any loved ones who accompany her. The radiologist will explain the outcome and his recommendations, so she can walk out with a good understanding and a solid program specific to her.”
For women undergoing routine screening mammograms, the turnaround time for digital mammography results is three days or less, compared with a wait of as long as a week for conventional mammogram screening results.
The new system also features an advanced ergonomic design so patients can stand more comfortably during mammograms.”You can hold on better and get more comfortable,” Lamb says. Like conventional mammograms, digital mammograms still involve breast compression, which is vital for getting the best possible images.
Research has shown that digital mammography works better than conventional mammography for certain subgroups of women, including perimenopausal women and those with dense breast tissue. “Compared with conventional X-ray film, the difference in image clarity for women with dense breasts is like night and day,” Lamb says.
The Selenia Dimensions system is based on Hologic’s proprietary, amorphous selenium DirectRay digital detector, which preserves image quality by using an amorphous selenium photo conductor to convert X-ray photons directly into electronic signals. No intensifying screens or additional processes are required to capture and convert the X-ray energy, leading to high-imaging resolution and contrast sensitivity.
The DirectRay digital detector has a fast cycle time, which allows excellent image quality and more efficient work flow. Radiologists can begin evaluating new images on computer monitors just minutes after they are captured. All relevant information and statistics are displayed. “Everything comes up,” Lamb says. “It’s much more efficient.” The system also automatically retrieves and displays prior images for comparison in a single, intuitive work station, which improves efficiency further. “It’s a much simpler process that reduces complications for the radiologist,” Niles says. “The benefit to the radiologist is that he’s looking at the pictures, not shuffling papers around or moving across a room. It allows him to maintain his focus on those images.”
Instead of using a magnifying glass to examine conventional X-ray images, radiologists now can use the system’s finger-touch controls to magnify breast images, increase or decrease contrast, and invert black and white values. These features make it easier to evaluate microcalcifications and to focus on areas of concern.
The rollout of the new digital mammography system is a major step forward in ABHN’s ongoing effort to help women identify breast cancer at the earliest possible stage. The mortality reduction for breast cancer is significant when women undergo screening mammography annually after 40.
“Our goal is smallest and earliest,” Niles says. “That is the best prognosis, because end treatments can be less aggressive and you have the best outcomes in terms of survival.”