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June 25, 2014:
Studies show that the 3D imaging in advanced mammograms provides for a better experience and fewer false positives.


3D Viewing:

While you may assume that your technologist is wearing 3D glasses or a virtual reality helmet, the fact of the matter is that the imaging works just fine on a screen where the images can be rotated and turned on their axis to discover views from all angles, far beyond the 2-D nature of a mammogram. This also helps with pinpointing locations of suspect tissues.

How Tomosynthesis Imaging Helps Get The Best Diagnosis

Computer Assisted Image Creation

For the most part, the procedure for getting a 3D mammogram is the same as the standard old-fashioned x-ray. The breast is still held steady and an image is taken, but in this case a series of digital X-Rays, versus old film, are taken using a rotating scanner, which then sends the information to a computer that assembles as many as 14 different views into a three dimensional model of the breast's interior. Structures and tissues are much more visible than they were before, and therefore it is easier to identify suspicious growths versus lumps that may be benign. Thicker tissues are easier to visualize, and doctors have a better picture of structures that may have been blocked by silicone or saline implants. As a result, there are fewer false positives, and fewer false negatives. From a diagnostic standpoint, this means fewer people being recalled to the clinic or being subject to biopsies, which can create a great deal of anxiety in the patient.

Originally, mammogram imaging looked specifically for calcifications, which were present alongside a majority of tumors. It should be noted that there are some breast cancer tumors that can't be detected by a mammogram, and it will be of interest to see over time whether tomosynthesis is better at detecting these. The always reliable Wikipedia states that as many as 7-15% of women may be called back for further diagnosic procedures with a standard mammogram.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: A secondary advantage is that the imaging information can be sent to specialists anywhere, so a doctor with far more experience could diagnose an unusual or difficlut case and make a determination on a course of action.